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GHA MEMBERS OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVE BYLAWS AMENDMENT THAT WILL PERMIT A BINDING MAIL REFERENDUM ON PROPOSED CONVERSION

GHA MEMBERS OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVE BYLAWS AMENDMENT THAT WILL PERMIT
 A BINDING MAIL REFERENDUM ON PROPOSED CONVERSION
 WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Officials of the Group Health Association (GHA) announced today that its members overwhelmingly approved an amendment to its bylaws that will allow their 147,000 members to vote by mail instead of at a membership meeting on whether to convert the nation's second-oldest HMO to a for-profit stock company.
 The bylaws amendment was approved by 96.4 percent of the 17,426 GHA members who returned their mail ballots by the Aug. 3 deadline. The ballots, which were sent the week of July 13, were tabulated by the League of Women Voters. A simple majority vote of approval of those voting was required for passage.
 GHA President and CEO Robert P. Pfotenhauer said passage of the bylaws change "represents an important milestone on the road towards conversion, and will help ensure maximum membership participation in the binding mail referendum on the future of GHA."
 The mail referendum asking members to approve the conversion is scheduled to be sent the week of Aug. 24. Forums are being held this month to answer members' questions about various aspects of the proposal.
 The conversion is intended to raise $12 million to $15 million from outside investors now, a significant amount of additional new capital over the next five years, and would enhance Group Health's ability to continue to compete with national insurance companies that offer health coverage in the Washington area.
 Pfotenhauer said the conversion "will keep GHA healthy and strong. It is a prescription for success that will provide our members with affordable and stable rates, provide our long-term members with continuous coverage, offer current employees job security, and maintain all ongoing quality improvement initiatives. The new GHA would be a model health care organization for the 1990s that would serve the best interests of employers, patients, and physicians."
 -0- 8/10/92
 /CONTACT: Edward Segal of Edward Segal Communications, 202-333-7966, for the Group Health Association/ CO: Group Health Association ST: District of Columbia IN: HEA SU: RCN


DS-MP -- DC005 -- 8354 08/10/92 08:06 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 10, 1992
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