Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative names executive team

Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, a new member-governed and operated nonprofit health insurance company serving southeastern Wisconsin, today announced the appointment of its executive team.

Robert De Vita, a former senior vice president and chief operating officer with Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group with 38 years of experience in health care, will serve as the cooperative’s chief executive officer.
Essie Whitelaw has been appointed chief strategy consultant, and interim chief executive officer Cathy Mahaffey has been named chief operating officer.
The Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative in February was approved to receive a $56.4 million loan from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish an organization to help small businesses and nonprofit organizations in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Washington and Walworth area provide affordable health insurance for their employees.
The cooperative’s 12-member board of directors said it believes De Vita’s experience in health care and knowledge of both local and national health care needs make him the best fit to lead the new organization.
“Bob has an impressive record of accomplishments in the health care industry,” said Bob Connolly, chairman of the board of directors. “His experience in working with health care providers and health plans will be instrumental to our development. Bob’s commitment to the community to bring more affordable health insurance to individuals and small businesses who are currently struggling with this issue makes him the right choice to lead Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative.”
Both Whitelaw and Mahaffey also bring decades of experience in the health care industry to each role. Whitelaw previously served as senior vice president of operations for Wisconsin Physician Services. She brings more than 15 years in various executive management positions, including roles as president and chief operating officer and vice president of national business development at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin.
Mahaffey has worked in the health insurance industry for about 20 years, previously working at The Alliance, a nonprofit cooperative located in Madison. She also served as the executive director for the Farmers’ Health Cooperative of Wisconsin, a nonprofit purchasing cooperative for farmers and agribusinesses.
In addition to the executive team, the Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative also recently hired Christopher Meyer as vice president of provider contracting and quality management. Meyer, another seasoned health care professional, has spent 19 years in health care finance and managed care with payers and providers, the last 10 as Columbia St. Mary’s managed care officer.
The Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative was featured in a recent BizTimes Milwaukee cover story.
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