Author Archive

UPHP Names Steve Wiig Employee of the Year
Posted on April 14, 2021
Steve Wiig, Employee of the Year

Marquette, MI – Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) proudly names Steve Wiig the 2020 Employee of the Year. Each year, UPHP names an Employee of the Year from a pool of Employee of the Quarter and “Caught ‘Cha” candidates. Each Employee of the Quarter is nominated by their manager. The nominees are then reviewed and a winner is selected by the senior management team. UPHP employees also participate in a peer recognition program called “Caught ‘Cha.” This is an employee-driven incentive program in which all employees can write a “Caught ‘Cha” note and give it to someone they caught doing something great. Along with each Employee of the Quarter, the two highest “Caught ‘Cha” recipients each year are entered as candidates in a company-wide vote for Employee of the Year. Steve was one of those “Caught ‘Cha” winners, as well as Employee of the First Quarter.

When asked what it meant to receive this honor, Steve responded, ” I am very grateful to have been voted for  UPHP’s Employee of the Year. It was a challenging year, but I’m glad I was able to contribute to UPHP’s continuing service to our community throughout the pandemic.”

Much of Steve’s success can be attributed to his work ethic. “Steve always goes above and beyond in his duties, often working off-hours to ensure our network infrastructure is working properly,” said UPHP IT Network and Infrastructure Manager Brad Perala. “This was especially evident during March when we moved 90% of UPHP staff to a telecommuter work setting. Steve put in many long hours getting equipment set up and assisting staff and without his dedication and hard work, we would not have been able to get there. He is truly deserving of the Employee of the Year award.”

Steve has been with the UPHP Network Infrastructure team for nearly 10 years and was recently promoted to Security Administrator. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Computer Information Systems. In his free time, Steve enjoys spending time with his family and working on cars.

UPHP Update on Sunny 101.9: STD Awareness Month
Posted on April 07, 2021
Chelsea Ely on Sunny 101.9

Upper Peninsula Health Plan Clinical Coordinator Chelsea Ely, LPN, joined Mark and Walt in the Morning on Sunny 101.9 this month to talk about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and the importance of yearly screenings, particularly for younger individuals ages 15 to 24. Ely stressed the importance of people discussing sexual activity and health with their providers, as it is part of full-body health. Many STDs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, are easily curable in early stages, but can lead to health issues such as infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease if left untreated.

Listen to the full interview below to learn more!

Feeding America West Michigan Mobile Food Pantry Coming to Marquette This Month, Throughout Remainder of 2021
Posted on March 17, 2021
Feeding American West Michigan Mobile Food Truck

Marquette, Mich. – Upper Peninsula Health Care Solutions (UPHCS) is partnering with Upper Peninsula Health Plan, YMCA of Marquette, United Way of Marquette County, Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan, the City of Marquette, and Feeding America West Michigan to bring Mobile Food Pantries to Marquette County residents, starting with an event March 31, 2021. 

“We are thrilled for this opportunity to partner with so many community agencies to help make these food deliveries sustainable, and to get food in the hands of people who need it,” said UPHCS Assistant Director Tyler LaPlaunt.

Mobile Pantries are like farmers markets on wheels – delivering a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products and baked goods to communities with a high need for food support. Attendees will not be asked to show identification or proof of income to receive food; however, they will be required to provide basic contact information and affirm their need for food. The amount of food an attendee receives will be based on household size. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, all Mobile Pantries are providing drive-thru service at this time.  

Details about the March 31 event are as follows: 

  • Location: YMCA of Marquette/Lakeview Arena Parking Lot | 401 E. Fair Ave., Marquette, MI 49855
  • Attendee arrival time: No earlier than 11:30 a.m.
  • Distribution start time: 12:30 p.m.

Additional pantries will be held at this same location June 4, July 8, Aug. 4, Sept. 1, Nov. 3, and Dec. 1; times for these events are TBD. Each event will provide groceries to around 300 families, free of charge.

These are just seven of roughly 100 Mobile Pantries Feeding America West Michigan provides each month. Information about other Mobile Pantries can be found at


Upper Peninsula Health Care Solutions, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves the 310,000 residents of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We are a network of community health care providers with a shared vision of working together to improve access, reduce cost, and promote quality health care services in the communities served by our members. Visit for more information.

About Feeding America West Michigan

Serving local families in need since 1981, Feeding America West Michigan reclaims millions of meals’ worth of safe, surplus food from various sources. With the help of countless volunteers, the food bank sorts, stores and distributes this food through a network of more than 800 partners to fill hundreds of thousands of neighbors’ plates instead of landfills. The food bank’s service area consists of 40 of Michigan’s 83 counties from the Indiana border north through the Upper Peninsula. For more information, visit or call (616) 784-3250. 

UPHP Update on Sunny 101.9: Colorectal Cancer Awareness
Posted on March 04, 2021
Jonas Hamren and Lindsey Havel

Upper Peninsula Health Plan Clinical Services Manager Lindsey Havel, RN, BSN, and Clinical Coordinator Jonas Hamren joined Mark and Walt in the Morning on Sunny 101.9 March 2 to highlight the importance colorectal cancer screenings during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Havel and Hamren discussed the importance of preventive screenings, like colonoscopies, for those ages 50 and over, or those with a family history of the disease. When colorectal cancer is found at an early stage before it has spread, the five-year relative survival rate is about 90%. They also stressed the importance of not delaying care due to COVID-19.

Listen to the full interview below to learn more!

UPHP Update on Sunny 101.9: COVID-19 Vaccination
Posted on February 02, 2021

Upper Peninsula Health Plan Community Health Worker Clinical Liaison Sue Sands, LPN, joined Mark and Walt in the Morning on Sunny 101.9 Feb. 2 to discuss all things pertaining to the COVID-19 vaccine. Sands touched on why the vaccine is important, who is currently eligible to receive it, potential side effects, vaccine availability, and more. Listen to the full interview below to learn more, or head over to our COVID-19 vaccination page.

UPHP Update on Sunny 101.9: Social Determinants of Health & CC4H
Posted on January 14, 2021

UPHP Community Health Worker Katie Poston joined Mark and Walt in the Morning on Sunny 101.9 this month to discuss social determinants of health (SDoH) and the UPHP Connected Communities for Health Program (CC4H). Poston explained that SDoH are conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, which can be responsible for health inequities. She also discussed how the UPHP CC4H program is helping to address SDoH by connecting individuals with resources available in their communities to help with things such as food, employment, and housing assistance.

2020 UPHP Community Benefit Report
Posted on December 16, 2020

The 2020 Upper Peninsula Health Plan Community Benefit Report highlights the the plan’s contributions to our community and commitment to helping our region’s citizen’s live their healthiest lives possible.

UPHP Update on Sunny 101.9: Plan For A Safe Holiday Season
Posted on December 02, 2020
Janey Joffee

UPHP Director of Population Health Janey Joffee, MBA, CPHQ, joined Mark and Walt in the Morning on Sunny 101.9 this week to discuss how to celebrate the upcoming holiday season safely amid the the coronavirus pandemic. Joffee encouraged individuals to follow guidance set forth by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reiterating that the safest way to celebrate is to stay home and only gather with those you live with. 

UPHP Radio Update on Sunny 101.9: Tobacco Cessation Resources
Posted on November 04, 2020
Adele Price, LPN

UPHP Clinical Coordinator Adele Price, LPN, joined Mark and Walt in the Morning on Sunny 101.9 to discuss tobacco cessation and the Great American Smoke Out, taking place this month Nov. 19. The message behind this effort is that you don’t have to quit smoking in one day, but you can start with one. Price also explained that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in the United States, and provided several resources available to UPHP members and the public to help them quit. 

UPHP Receives Governor’s Fitness Healthy Workplace Award
Posted on October 26, 2020

Marquette, Mich. – Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) is proud to announce it was recently selected as a winner of the Governor’s Fitness Awards (GFAs)! Each year, the GFAs recognize communities, organizations, and individuals who inspire healthy choices. Winners are recognized in several categories; UPHP was selected in the Healthy Workplace – Small Organization category. This award in particular recognizes Michigan companies that create workplace wellness programs so their employees have access to resources to be fit, healthy, and more productive.

“We’re extremely honored to have been selected for this award out of such a deserving group of finalists,” said UPHP Chief Executive Officer Melissa Holmquist. “As a health care organization, it is our responsibility to be a community leader in all aspects of health and wellness, and that means starting with ourselves.”

UPHP has an established wellness committee that drives nearly all of its wellness efforts. The committee organizes fun wellness events/challenges throughout the year and provides health and wellness education that focuses on all aspects of health, including physical, mental, emotional, social and financial – all of which contribute to one’s overall health. Employees of UPHP are also offered reimbursement for monthly gym membership fees, helping to reduce the financial burden sometimes associated with getting healthy.

“Our wellness program has given our staff the knowledge and resources they need to be the healthiest versions of themselves. It’s very rewarding to see them thrive, and become ambassadors for healthy lifestyles within our community,” said Holmquist.

Although many of its usual wellness activities have been cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19, the Committee is still engaging staff with virtual challenges and accountability groups, and through regular wellness communications.

To learn more about the Governor’s Fitness Awards, visit