TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — State Representative Graham Filler (R-Clinton County), former Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr., David Waymire, founder of Martin Waymire, and Greater Flint Health Coalition were recognized today for their contributions to addressing state health care issues. The awards were presented during the Michigan Association of Health Plans’ annual summer conference at Grand Traverse Resort.
Rep. Graham Filler received the 2023 Legislator of the Year award, which recognizes lawmakers who have demonstrated initiative and leadership in support of issues that advocate for high quality, affordable, equitable, and accessible health care for Michigan citizens.
Rep. Filler represents the 93rd district in Michigan, covering portions of Clinton, Gratiot, Ionia, Montcalm and Saginaw counties. He serves on the House Health Policy Committee and co-introduced the Healthier Michigan Plan (HB 4495 & 4496) that passed with bipartisan support in both chambers.
“Rep. Filler’s leadership in working across the aisle to advance needed reforms to Michigan’s Medicaid program is to be applauded and commended,” said Dominick Pallone, MAHP executive director. “He is a bright star in Lansing, and we’re proud to recognize him with this year’s Legislator of the Year award.”
MAHP was also pleased to award former Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr., with the Eugene Farnum Award. This award honors those whose lifetime work reflects the values that Gene Farnum exemplified: collaboration, compromise, fairness and integrity — and who share his vision of access to quality, affordable health care for Michigan citizens.
Hertel started as an Ingham County Commissioner in 2001 and later as the Register of Deeds in 2008. In 2014 he was elected to the Michigan State Senate, where he served until 2022. During his time in the Senate, Hertel served as Minority Whip, Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and as Vice Chair of the Community Health & Human Services Budget and the Banking and Financial Services Policy Committee. He also served on the Health Policy and Commerce Committees and countless other committees during his tenure.
“Hertel embodies the nature of Gene Farnum through his dedication to improving health care quality with a careful and collaborative approach in policymaking,” said Pallone. “The respect, professionalism, and willingness to listen that he has afforded our members is unprecedented.”
MAHP’s most prestigious award is the Ellis J. Bonner Outstanding Achievement Award. The recipient of this year’s award is David Waymire, a former journalist and a founder of Martin Waymire, a Lansing-based public relations firm. Waymire worked alongside MAHP for 15 years before retiring at the end of 2022 and was instrumental in helping MAHP communicate important health care issues to Michigan residents and lawmakers.
The Bonner award recognizes a MAHP member nominated by colleagues based upon exemplary service, leadership and contributions to the managed care industry and community. The late Ellis Bonner was a leader of the health maintenance organization movement in Michigan, a mentor to many, and a tireless advocate of an accessible health care system for Michigan citizens.
“Dave Waymire has been our industry’s trailblazing advocate, spokesperson, and innovative thinker for decades,” said Pallone. “He not only deeply understands every health care issue facing our state, but also cares about making Michigan a better place for residents through strong policy.”
The final award presented at the MAHP Summer Conference was the Presidential Merit Award, which was accepted by Jim Ananich, president and CEO of Greater Flint Health Coalition. This is a discretionary award that the MAHP president may present to an organization in recognition of outstanding service, achievement or collaboration consistent with the MAHP mission.
Greater Flint Health Coalition works to improve the health of its residents and improve the quality and cost effectiveness of the health care system. Most recently they have achieved this by working with communities of color in Flint and Genesee County to provide culturally relevant community health resources and programs.
“Greater Flint Health Coalition has championed equity in access to health care services, affordability, and health outcomes and provides enumerable benefits to their community,” said Nancy Jenkins, MAHP board president and CEO of McLaren Health Plan. “I’m heartened to know that we have partners such as this coalition that will be willing and able to help people through Medicaid redetermination.”
The Michigan Association of Health Plans (MAHP) is an industry voice for 11 health care plans, covering over 3.1 million Michigan residents, and 50 businesses affiliated with the health care industry. MAHP facilitates communication among members, government, and the industry regarding health care issues of common concern. The mission of the Michigan Association of Health Plans is to provide leadership for the promotion and advocacy of high quality, affordable, accessible health care for the citizens of Michigan.back to blog