FLINT – The Genesee Health Plan (GHP) recognized local health care champions for their commitment to increasing access to quality health care in Genesee County during the 2017 Health Care Hall of Fame Awards on Monday, March 27. GHP honored State Representative Phil Phelps (D-Flushing) as the 2017 Health Care Hall of Fame Inductee for Visionary Leadership.
“It is a privilege to recognize Rep. Phelps as a health care champion in our community, and especially for his leadership during the Flint Water Crisis,” said Jim Milanowski, GHP President and Chief Executive Officer. “We are honored to induct Rep. Phelps into the GHP Hall of Fame as well as honoring the amazing health care professionals and organizations in our community who continue to support GHP and the community we serve.”
As a champion for GHP, Rep. Phelps has been a strong voice for affordable, accessible, high quality health care throughout his career. Rep. Phelps played a leading role in the passage of GHP’s millage in 2006 by serving as a spokesperson for the ballot initiative. He also served on GHP’s Millage Steering Committee in 2012. Rep. Phelps has spent the last year working with Governor Snyder’s administration on Flint Water and helped create a bill which passed unanimously in January 2016 that provided $28 million in assistance for Flint residents.
GHP recognized multiple other community leaders, physicians and community partners for their commitment to high quality health care in Genesee County at the event, held at Flint Golf Club. The GHP Hall of Fame Awards is designed to showcase community efforts among GHP and local partners to help people get health care, from connecting patients to the right treatment and service to enrolling people into health coverage.
Other community leaders and partners honored included:
Community Partnership Award
The Community Partnership award honors an individual or organization that joined GHP in an enduring partnership, worked hand-in-hand to improve wellness and health education, or supported quality, affordable health care for Genesee Health Plan members. The United Way of Genesee County, Genesee County Clerk/ Register of Deeds-John Gleason and Valley Area Agency on Aging are recipients of the 2017 Community Partnership Award.
United Way of Genesee County has helped provide funding for services to Genesee County residents where language and/or culture was identified as a barrier to accessing much-needed health care services. The United Way has also provided funding for a GHP Community Health Worker position in one of the Flint schools.
John J. Gleason, Genesee County Clerk/Register of Deeds continues to support GHP by working tirelessly to spread awareness of organ donation and connecting community members to organ donation tools and resources. Additionally, Gleason and his wife worked with GHP and Delta Dental to ensure that the uninsured residents of Genesee County had access to quality dental coverage by working alongside GHP to provide a dental coverage for GHP members.
Valley Area Agency on Aging (VAAA) is committed to providing answers, action and advocacy on care for the elderly, disabled and aging adults of Genesee, Lapeer and Shiawassee Counties. VAAA has recently partnered with GHP to support its Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program and last fall, assisted with GHP’s WNEM TV 5 phone bank to answer questions regarding the new program. VAAA also assisted GHP in conducting an oral health needs assessment on unmet dental needs of the senior population in our community.
The Visionary Leadership award honors local people and organizations that have provided leadership for creative solutions to accessible, quality and affordable health care in our community. U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee is the recipient of the 2017 Visionary Leadership Award.
Congressman Dan Kildee is a tireless advocate for Flint families and has led the fight in Congress to bring federal funding to the city in the wake of the water crisis. In December 2016, Congress passed $170 million in federal aid championed by Congressman Kildee directed at helping Flint recover from the city’s ongoing water crisis.
Physician Leadership Award The Physician Leadership award honors a physician leader or organization who provides exemplary quality of care, serves as a patient advocate and demonstrates a commitment to strengthening health care in the community. Genesee County Medical Society is the recipient of the 2017 Physician Leadership Award.
Genesee County Medical Society (GCMS) is a long-time partner for GHP and continues to work with the local medical community to encourage their participation in GHP. During the Flint Water Crisis, GCMS and its members played a critical role in exposing health risks, and continue to work to ensure Flint residents are receiving proper medical treatment and care. GCMS physicians have been heroic during the water crisis by serving as spokespeople for Flint residents, voicing their healthcare needs and making sure the community understands the need for protective actions, such as using bottled and filtered water. GCMS physicians also participated in a Skin Rash Study with federal and state agencies and provided free skin rash screenings to the concerned public on behalf of the Genesee County Medical Society. Under the Physician Leadership Award, 11 members of the Genesee County Medical Society that worked on helping the public that were impacted by the Flint Water Crisis were honored: Dr. Bishr Al-Dabagh, Dr. Walter Barkey, Dr. Laura Carravallah, Dr. Kevin Gaffney, Dr. Eyassu Habte-Gabr, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Dr. Gerald Natzke, Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, Dr. Robert Soderstrom, Dr. John Waters, Peter Levine, MPH and Executive Director of GCMS. — L.R.