Garry Maisel, President and Chief Executive OfficerGarry Maisel's commitment to our region is evident in his every action as president and CEO of Western Health Advantage.
As president, Garry has provided leadership at the local HMO from the time of its start-up in 1996 to its current recorded annual revenue of more than $425 million. WHA focuses on improving health care access and affordability and is known for developing innovative programs to expand coverage to the uninsured.
The company's growth and quality has earned it a spot on the Sacramento Business Journal's list of Top 50 Fasting-Growing Companies in 2011. He leads over 100 employees at WHA, who provide top-rated customer service to over 92,000 members and share a commitment to improving the health and well-being of Sacramento.
In addition to putting WHA in a position to improve access to health care for the un-insured, he also believes in leveraging his position and his local organization to support various community charities and causes. An active community board member, Maisel lends his expertise and experience to:
- Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts (past Board Chair)
- Crocker Art Museum (Board Treasurer)
- American Leadership Forum
- B Street Theatre
- Mercy Foundation (past Board Chair)
- The Non-Profit Resource Center (current Board Chair)
- WEAVE (current Board chair)
- For Art's Sake Initiative-Sacramento Office of the Mayor (current Co-Chairman)
- and healthcare professional organizations; the Health Plan Alliance, the California Association of Health Plans, and Mercy Care Plan of Arizona.
Whether he is providing good jobs to local employees, providing quality health care coverage to local business or providing expert counsel to local charities, Garry Maisel is perfectly suited to lead an organization committed to the people and businesses of the Sacramento region.
Rebecca Downing, Chief Legal OfficerAs the Chief Legal Officer, Rebecca Downing has provided legal and compliance leadership for Western Health Advantage since 2005. Ms. Downing is responsible for the Legal, Compliance and HIPAA privacy programs of the company.
Before Western Health Advantage, Rebecca was General Counsel to Landmark Healthplan of California, Inc., a multi-state complementary / alternative care, managed care company. Ms. Downing has also worked at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, and served as Executive Director of the California Chiropractic Association
Rebecca serves as the Chair of the Enforcement Committee of the Dental Board of California and in various community benefit activities.
Ms. Downing graduated from the University of Southern California Law School and received her Bachelor's Degree from California State University, Sacramento. She has been a practicing attorney for over 18 years.
Bill Figenshu, Chief Sales OfficerAs the Chief Sales Officer, Bill has provided leadership for Western Health Advantage since the health plan began in 1997. Bill brings to the position over 25 years of healthcare experience, all of which have been based in the greater Sacramento area.
Bill's primary responsibilities include oversight of the company's Sales and Major Accounts. He works closely with these departments to ensure the highest level of service to WHA employers and members.
WHA has grown to over 90,000 members in over 4,600 employer groups and holds excellent NCQA Accreditation. Western Health Advantage focuses on improving healthcare access and affordability for employers and individuals in Sacramento, Yolo, Solano, El Dorado, and Placer counties and is well-known for developing innovative programs to expand coverage to the uninsured. The company's mission is to ensure that its members enjoy responsive, local customer service, affordable coverage, excellent access to quality doctors and hospitals and unbeatable service.
Mr. Figenshu has a Bachelor's in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
Rick Heron, Chief Marketing and Brand OfficerRick Heron joined Western Health Advantage's senior management team in 2005 to develop and lead the organization's marketing and community relations efforts. As a leading local healthcare company, WHA strongly supports making a difference in the greater Sacramento community. Heron is responsible for coordinating all of the organization's external affairs, including advertising, marketing, communications, branding, charitable outreach, and public affairs.
Before joining WHA, Heron was regional marketing manager for America Online (AOL). Prior to AOL, he spent 15 years in professional sports, holding management positions in sales, community relations and marketing with Maloof Sports & Entertainment and the San Francisco Giants.
An active community participant, Heron is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sacramento Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, and Board member of the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce, the Community Services Planning Council and the Center for Youth Citizenship. He serves on the Healthcare and Membership Committees for the Metro Chamber. Heron has worked extensively with neighborhood groups, school districts, business leaders and elected officials on an array of projects intended to benefit and strengthen our community.
Heron has a bachelor's degree from UC Davis, and a master's degree from the University San Francisco. He is a member of, and also certified by, Boston College's Carroll School of Management Center for Corporate Citizenship.
Heron and his wife Christy Clark live in Carmichael with their two sons, William and Nathaniel.
Dr. Don Hufford, Chief Medical OfficerAs the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Don Hufford has provided medical leadership for Western Health Advantage since the health plan began in 1997. During that time WHA has grown from a simple idea to 90,000 member health plan that holds NCQA Excellent Accreditation. As CMO, Dr. Hufford has responsibilities for all clinical aspects of the health plan including Quality Improvement, Health Promotion, Disease Management, Credentialing and Clinical Resources.
Dr. Hufford is an adjunct faculty member at The University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning and Development. He teaches a course on Quality Issues and Quality Improvement in Health Care for the Masters of Healthcare Administration Program. Dr. Hufford also sits on the Advisory Board for the USC Sacramento Center.
Prior to coming to Western Health Advantage, Dr. Hufford was the Managed Care Medical Director and a practicing physician at Mercy Medical Group in Sacramento.
Dr. Hufford is a Board Certified Family Physician who trained at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento and is a graduate of the Chicago Medical School and University of Southern California.
Dr. Hufford has previously been a part time clinical faculty member at UC Davis Medical Center teaching Family Medicine Residents.
Rita Ruecker, Chief Financial OfficerAs the Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, Rita Ruecker has provided financial and operational leadership for Western Health Advantage since its start-up in 1997. Rita is responsible for the entire Financial, Human Resources and IT operations of the company. Her insightful direction has led Western Health Advantage to grow substantially over the past 14 years.
Ms. Ruecker has 25 years of experience in healthcare. Before Western Health Advantage, she worked in public accounting in the healthcare division servicing health plans, hospital systems and various healthcare companies.
Rita proudly serves on the Board of Breathe California and participates in various community benefit activities. She was honored as Sacramento's CFO of the Year in 2011 by the Sacramento Business Journal.
Ms. Ruecker is a Certified Public Accountant and has a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas of Austin.
Mark Sloan, Chief Administrative OfficerAs the Chief Administrative Officer, Mark is responsible for the Claims, Member Services, Member and Provider Relations departments of the company.
Mr. Sloan has 25 years of experience in healthcare. Before Western Health Advantage, Mark worked for CHW Medical Foundation as Director of Managed Care, which included Claims, Members Services, Enrollment, Case Management and Utilization Management. Mr. Sloan has also worked at Prudential Insurance as a Claims Manager servicing health plans, hospital systems and various healthcare companies.
Mr. Sloan graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. He lives in Coloma with his wife, Loretta.