Posts for UPHP News

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
Posted on March 21, 2019

MARQUETTE – Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) is joining the nation in celebrating national Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month! Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, but it is also one of the most preventable. Routine screenings starting at the age of 45 for men and women can help to detect and treat it in its early stages. If you have a family history of the disease, screenings are recommended earlier. Be sure to talk with your doctor about your risks.

In the videos below, learn about prevention and what is involved with the different screening options from James Surrell, MD, a former colorectal surgeon, patient, Jackie, and UPHP Clinical Coordinator Steve Rudness.

Video 1: Colorectal Cancer Awareness

Video 2: Colorectal Cancer Awareness After Show

Follow us on Facebook for more information and updates, or learn more at

UPHP Update: Appropriate Antibiotic Usage
Posted on February 19, 2019

UPHG Provider Resource Services Advisor, Rachel Riley

Marquette, MI – (Great Lakes Radio) – On the latest Upper Peninsula Health Plan update, we heard from Rachel Riley, Provider Resource Services Advisor under Upper Peninsula Health Group.

Riley explained that UPHP and UPHG are currently working together on the SmartRx Campaign to assist providers in educating patients on appropriate antibiotic use as antibiotics are not indicated for viruses.

She also talked about the differences between a viral infection and a bacterial infection and shared some good tips on staying healthy during this cold and flu season.

Riley said that the two groups are providing materials to practices to assist in staying healthy and to help if someone becomes sick with a viral infection.

They include informational posters for waiting rooms/lobbies and Cold Kits that consist of tissues, lip balm, thermometers, and hand sanitizer as an alternative treatments.

Riley added that for more information about appropriate antibiotic use go to or visit the UPHP Facebook and Twitter pages.

LISTEN IN – Rachel Riley with more about appropriate antibiotic use.

This story was originally posted here by Great Lakes Radio, Inc. on February 7, 2019.

The Importance of Preventive Care in Staying Healthy
Posted on January 14, 2019

Marquette, MI – (Great Lakes Radio) – On the latest UPHP Update, we heard from Clinical Coordinator Chris Rhoades about preventive care in living a longer, healthier life.

Rhoades joined the Sunny Morning Show to talk about what preventive care is and what some good examples of it are.

He also explained the differences between preventive care and diagnostic care as part of your personal health journey.

Rhoades also delved into the importance of knowing your insurance benefit coverage and how to use it to maintain your preventive care regimen.

He wrapped up with some good tips about preventive care and using the new year as the springboard to get checked and get active.

LISTEN IN – UPHP Clinical Care Coordinator Chris Rhoades with more about preventive care.

This story was originally posted here by Great Lakes Radio, Inc. on January 8, 2019.


UPHP Supports Beacon House’s “Legacy of Love” Campaign
Posted on December 20, 2018

MARQUETTE – Upper Peninsula Health Plan has made a $50,000 contribution to the Beacon House’s “Legacy of Love” capital campaign. The Beacon House is an independent, non-profit organization and does not charge guests for their stay. The “Legacy of Love” capital campaign project kicked off in 2016, since then dozens of sponsors have pledged their financial support. To date the Beacon House has raised $2.1 million of the $3 million phase one goal of the building project.

Upper Peninsula Health Plan and the Beacon House have long been partners. The Beacon House has provided hospitality for UPHP members and their families since opening their doors in 2002. UPHP members travel from across the Upper Peninsula to receive specialty medical care in Marquette and the Beacon House allows them to stay near their loved ones. Hospitality houses need to be within walking distance of hospitals. There is a strong correlation between proximity to healthcare services and recovery. The Beacon House has provided several thousand overnight stays for UPHP members from all across the Upper Peninsula- averaging 750 nights annually in recent years.

For over 16 years, the Beacon House has been a home away from home for patients and families traveling to Marquette for specialty medical care. “Worrying about where you will stay when a loved one is in the hospital can be stressful. Having a facility like the Beacon House close to the hospital can help reduce fear and anxiety allowing the focus to be on recovery,” said Melissa Holmquist, UPHP CEO.

The Beacon House operates on a donation basis and guests are expected to contribute at a level that is affordable to them. No family is ever turned away for lack of funds. To contribute to the Beacon House’s “Legacy of Love” capital campaign, you can make a donation or pledge online at or by calling 906-225-7100. For additional information please contact Mary Tavernini Dowling at or 906-225-7100.

About UPHP
Upper Peninsula Health Plan currently serves nearly 50,000 members across five product lines (Michigan Medicaid, Children with Special Health Care Services, Healthy Michigan Plan, MI Health Link, and Medicare Advantage) and its network exceeds 2,000 providers. Learn more at

UPHP Encourages Managing Stress For Good Health
Posted on December 12, 2018

Marquette, MI – (Great Lakes Radio) – On the latest Upper Peninsula Health Plan update, the conversation focused on stress management and how it it’s key to staying healthy.

Steve Rudness, Clinical Coordinator with UPHP, joined the Sunny Morning Show today to talk about what stress is, how it can affect us and how to find ways to manage it.

Rudness explained that stress is a natural reaction in our bodies to external pressures that can be both physical and mental and it really only becomes an issue when we allow it to build up within us.

He said there are plenty of ways to manage stress, but one of the best ways is to simply take the time to take care of yourself by doing things you enjoy to do, whether it’s exercising, socializing or just having some quiet time alone.

Rudness also shared several resources to find help in managing your stress in order to live a healthy life.

LISTEN IN – Steve Rudness of Upper Peninsula Health Plan with more about stress management.

This story was originally posted here by Great Lakes Radio, Inc. on December 4, 2018.


UPHP Repeats as Top Scoring Medicare-Medicaid Plan on CAHPS Overall Rating
Posted on December 12, 2018

MARQUETTE – The Integrated Care Resource Center announced on Wednesday, December 12th that for the second year in a row Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) has tied for first place in the nation for overall rating of a Medicare-Medicaid Plan (MMP). UPHP was approved by the State of Michigan and the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) to provide the services of a dual eligible program called MI Health Link. The advantages of the MI Health Link program are to make member’s Medicare and Michigan Medicaid benefits work better together. MI Health Link members use one plan and one card for health care, behavioral health care, home and community based services, nursing home care, and medications.

Under the Medicare-Medicaid Financial Alignment Initiative, CMS measures consumer experience in multiple ways, including through beneficiary surveys such as the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey. Under the capitated financial alignment model, Medicare-Medicaid Plans (MMPs) are required to annually conduct the Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) CAHPS survey. The MA-PD CAHPS survey is designed to measure important aspects of an individual’s health care experience including the accessibility to and quality of services.

As part of the MA-PD CAHPS survey, respondents are asked to rate their health plan on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is the worst health plan possible and 10 is the best health plan possible. The scores below are the percentage of the best possible score each contract earned:

“We are thrilled to be recognized for a second year in a row as one of the top Medicare-Medicaid Health Plans in the nation. The credit for this recognition goes to our hard working staff and network of providers who dedicate themselves to serving our members. It is their effort that is reflected in our member satisfaction via this CAHPS survey,” said UPHP CEO, Melissa Holmquist.

In order to report MA-PD CAHPS in a given year, health plans, including MMPs, must have a minimum of 600 enrollees as of July 1st of the preceding calendar year. In early 2018, surveys were sent to a sample of Medicare-Medicaid Plan enrollees with at least six months of continuous enrollment. Enrollees were asked to evaluate their health care experience over the previous six months. As a result, 41 MMPs participating in nine capitated model demonstrations were able to report CAHPS during the 2018 reporting cycle.

CMS anticipates making additional information regarding 2018 CAHPS results under the Medicare-Medicaid Financial Alignment Initiative available soon. For more information on the MA-PD CAHPS survey see

About UPHP

Upper Peninsula Health Plan currently serves nearly 50,000 members across five product lines (Michigan Medicaid, Children with Special Health Care Services, Healthy Michigan Plan, MI Health Link, and Medicare Advantage) and its network exceeds 2,000 providers. Learn more at

UPHP to Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
Posted on October 22, 2018

Ann Arbor, Mich – The United States is currently experiencing an epidemic of prescription drug misuse and abuse. Opioid overdose deaths in Michigan have almost tripled in five years. To help turn the tide on this epidemic, Upper Peninsula Health Plan is partnering with the Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (Michigan OPEN) and the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department to host a medication take-back event on Saturday, October 27 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. The host site for the event is the Westwood Mall parking lot in front of the old Younkers building.

Did you know?

  • Every 10 minutes a child visits the emergency room for medication poisoning
  • 12.5 million people age 12 and older misused opioids in the last year
  • Three in five teens say prescription pain medication is easy to get from their parents’ medicine cabinet

Community opioid and medication take-back events provide a safe process for disposing of unused medications while protecting our communities, children, and the environment. Remove the risk from your home and bring your unused opioids to the medication take-back event at:

Westwood Mall Parking Lot
3020 US-41
Marquette, MI 49855

For more information or to find other take back event locations throughout Michigan, please visit



UPHP Medicare Advantage Plans Add LIVE FIT Fitness Benefit
Posted on October 18, 2018

Marquette –Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) is excited to announce a new fitness benefit, LIVE FIT, to its two Medicare Advantage plans: UPHP Advantage (HMO) and UPHP Choice (HMO). Both UPHP Advantage and UPHP Choice cover hospital insurance (Part A) and medical insurance (Part B) as well as prescription drug coverage (Part D). Dental, hearing, and vision services are also included under UPHP Advantage. UPHP Choice has a $0 monthly premium with an additional dental benefit. New in 2019, UPHP’s Medicare Advantage plans will offer a fitness benefit that will allow access to classes, equipment, and events at participating health clubs.

In January 2019, LIVE FIT will be available at no additional cost to members enrolled in eligible UPHP Medicare Advantage plans. The benefit will be available throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula across a large network of participating fitness centers. Plan participants will have access to the same services, privileges, classes and programs as the fitness centers’ standard members, including a waiver of all traditional enrollment fees. UPHP members enrolled for plan year 2019 will be eligible to receive this new fitness benefit.

“LIVE FIT offers people enrolled in UPHP Medicare Advantage plans an opportunity to stay active and improve their health. The opportunity to go to a local gym at no additional costs is a great value to our Medicare Advantage members on a fixed income,” said Melissa Holmquist, CEO of Upper Peninsula Health Plan.

The following fitness centers, in alphabetical order by county, are participating in the LIVE FIT network:

  • Chippewa County:
    • All In One Fitness
    • War Memorial Hospital Fitness Center
  • Delta County:
    • Sullivan’s Health & Fitness
  • Gogebic County:
    • Main Street Fitness
  • Houghton County:
    • Aspirus Fitness Center
    • Portage Fitness Center
    • Snap Fitness of Houghton
  • Luce County:
    • Helen Newberry Joy Wellness Center – Newberry
  • Mackinac County:
    • Helen Newberry Joy Wellness Center – Curtis
  • Marquette County:
    • Anytime Fitness of Harvey
    •  Joe’s Gym
    • NMU PEIF Recreation Center
    • Perform 4 Life
    • Synergy Fitness
  • Ontonagon County:
    • Aspirus Rehab & Fitness
  • Schoolcraft County:
    • Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital Fitness Center

Fitness centers can be nominated for the network at

“Anytime Fitness of Harvey looks forward to serving UPHP Medicare Advantage members as part of the LIVE FIT network,” said Jamie Thayer. “We look forward to working together to provide more fitness choices to seniors, both inside and outside of the gym.”

To learn more about Medicare and understand your options, visit to download our FREE Medicare guide.

If you have questions, call UPHP Customer Service at 1-877-349-9324 (TTY 711), Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, with weekend hours from October 1 through March 31st. The call is free. Upper Peninsula Health Plan is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Upper Peninsula Health Plan depends on contract renewal. Learn more at

About UPHP

Upper Peninsula Health Plan is celebrating 20 years of making the U.P. healthier. We currently serve over 47,000 members across five product lines (Michigan Medicaid, MIChild, Children with Special Health Care Services, MI Health Link, and Medicare Advantage) and its network exceeds 2,000 providers.


UPHP Launches Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures Campaign
Posted on July 05, 2018

Marquette, MI – (Great Lakes Radio) – “Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures” is a joint effort between Upper Peninsula Health Plan and Upper Peninsula Health Group designed to highlight the importance of annual preventative care for kids of all ages.

UPHP Clinical Coordinator Chris Rhoades joined the Sunny Morning Show today to share some of the highlights of this initiative.

Rhoades said UPHP is teaming up with roughly 25 different primary care practices across the U.P. and promoting the campaign throughout the Upper Peninsula.

He said the overall goal is to make sure area children get the regular health care they need for a healthy future.

Rhoades said it runs through August 31st and there will be prizes for the provider practices that can get the most kids through the door as well as drawings for the kids who go in and get the care they need.

LISTEN IN – UPHP Clinical Coordinator Chris Rhoades with more about the “Healthy Kids, Healthy Futures” initiative.

This story was originally posted here by Great Lakes Radio, Inc. on July 3, 2018.

Upper Peninsula Health Plan Sees Changes At The Top
Posted on June 16, 2018

Melissa Holmquist and Dennis Smith of UPHP

Marquette, MI – (Great Lakes Radio News) – Transitions are happening in the leadership at the Upper Peninsula Health Plan organization.

Long-time Upper Peninsula Health Plan (UPHP) President and CEO Dennis Smith announced his retirement, effective July 1st, late last year, and as a result, COO Melissa Holmquist was named as Smith’s successor.

Smith and Holmquist both joined the Sunny Morning Show on June 5th to talk about the transition that is underway at the Marquette-based agency.

Smith talked about several of the key successes that have happened under his watch, including steady and consistent growth, and productive alliances in the U.P. health care landscape that have been facilitated by UPHP.

Holmquist shared some of her background with UPHP and what she hopes to see in the future of the group as she takes over the reins.

LISTEN IN – Retiring CEO Dennis Smith and incoming CEO Melissa Holmquist talk transitions.

This story was originally posted here by Great Lakes Radio Inc.