Who We Are: MPPA Board of Directors 2016
Lee Beecher, MD (MPPA President)
A founder of MPPA in 1997, Lee is an advocate for and student of patient empowerment, patient-centered medical care, privacy and confidentiality in psychiatric treatment, and market-driven healthcare insurance reform. He closed his 42 year Saint Louis Park psychiatry and addiction psychiatry practice in 2014. Opting out of all insurance and Medicare provider agreements in 2005, he ascribes to the Direct Pay (cash practice) model for outpatient psychiatric practice (see Direct Pay psychiatric practice on the homepage). Lee is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, taught in the Methodist Hospital family practice residency program years ago, and was an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota from 2006 to 2015. Dr. Beecher was honored as the first recipient of the “First A physician Award” from the Twin Cities Medical Society in 2006, a Minneapolis/Saint Paul Magazine “Top Doc” in 2007, and named among the Top 100 Minnesota Health Care Leaders in 2004, 2008 and 2012 by Minnesota Physician Magazine.
Robert Geist, MD (MPPA Secretary)
A retired Saint Paul urologist, Bob is an esteemed Minnesota healthcare policy leader, analyst, and commentator. He helped shape Minnesota Medical Association (MMA) policy on professional (ethical) conflicts of interest for physicians taking financial risks for the costs of health care they do not themselves provide to patients. Bob supports consumer-directed healthcare such as health care savings accounts (HSA) and access to private sector physicians and healthcare insurance choices for all Minnesotans. He was president of the United Hospital Medical staff, the Ramsey County Medical Society, and the MN Urological Society. He was Chair of MMA Committee on Ethics and Medical Legal Affairs and served on the MMA Board. He was Chair of the RCMS Council on Professionalism and Ethics, and the TCMS Forum—for over a decade of meetings 4-5 times per year these gatherings of lay and medical leaders heard expert speakers of all perspectives in order to explore the many political economic panaceas posed to fix medicine’s cost problems and to analyze the importance of professionalism in the patient-physician relationship. He has authored dozens of published scientific and medical-political articles, essays, opinion-editorials, and letters to editors. Bob serves as Secretary of MPPA.
Bob is a founding director of MPPA.
Lee Kurisko, MD.
Lee is a practicing radiologist in the Twin Cities. Dr. Kurisko began his professional career in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Disatisfied with the Canadian health care system, he and his wife moved to Minnesota. And he has written authoritatively on the Canadian health care system; see http://www.amazon.com/Health-Reform-The-American-Revolution/dp/0977753441
Hannelore Brucker, MD.
Dr. Hannelore Brucker, an Edina allergist for 23 years, is a Fellow of the ACP, a member of the AAAAI, and a Scientific Fellow of the ACAAI. Recognized as a “Top Doc” in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, Hannelore passionately and effectively achieves optimal medical outcomes for her patients — and she brings this experience to MPPA Board discussions.
Richard J. Morris, MD.
Rick recently retired from allergy medicine practice (since 1978). Initially he was a member of a large multispecialty group in the Twin Cities. But he decided to start his own successful single-specialty practice in 2001. Dr. Morris prefers close, collaborative patient relationships — which are possible in independent practice. He is an expert on asthma practice guidelines and evidence-based medical practice. An astute observer and articulate commentator, Rick is committed to protecting patient rights and choices which are threatened by unwise administrative and legislative actions at the state and federal levels.
Michael Ainslie, MD
Mike served as Treasurer, President, and Board Chair of the West Metro Medical Society, which is now the Twin Cities Medical Society (TCMS). For six years until 2009 he was Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Minnesota Medical Association (MMA). Dr. Ainslie practiced pediatric endocrinology at the Park Nicollet Clinic (HealthPartners) in Saint Louis Park, MN until 2013. He now is a consultant. Mike is a staunch patient advocate and proponent of consumer-directed, market-based healthcare and insurance coverage. Born in Iowa and raised in Chicago, Mike is proud to be Minnesota resident since 1977.
Peter Nelson, JD
Peter Nelson is Director of Public Policy for the Minnesota Center of the American Experiment (CAE), a respected Minneapolis-based public policy think tank. CAE applies conservative and free market ideas to address some of the most vexing public policy problems facing Minnesota and the nation. As a Policy Fellow, Peter spends most of his time researching and writing on issues related to health care financing and energy policy, which are highly regulated sectors of our economy. Peter has expertise in insurance regulation, Medicaid, and long-term care. He regularly consults with state policymakers on these issues and contributes commentaries to the StarTribune, Pioneer Press, and newspapers across Minnesota. Peter received his B.A. in economics from Wheaton College and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School where he was a member of the Minnesota Law Review.
Dave received his Master of Letters Degree from Oxford Graduate School in 2009. His masters’ thesis, “A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO HEALTH CARE REFORM IN THE UNITED STATES: TWENTY-FIVE KEYS TO UNDERSTANDING THE CHALLENGES,” expounded that successful health care redesign requires integrating a broad array of considerations — clearly, one size does not fit all. Self-employed since 1974, Dave believes that delivery of health care services in a free market will produce the best quality of care at the best price to recipients and payors. Dave is a writer, researcher, publisher, speaker, and expert on health care insurance. He focuses on themes of freedom, liberty, free enterprise, and the founding fathers’ views of the United States Constitution. Dave has written 25 books; four on health care reform. He speaks on health care and insurance reform to audiences of doctors, insurance agents, employers, and private citizens. Dave is the founding President of the Declaration Foundation, and past President of the Constitution Educational Foundation.
Douglas Smith, MD
Doug is a board certified practicing family physician with a career-long interest in patient’s access to care and cost-effective treatment models. He currently practices medicine in a solo Direct Pay office in Long Lake, Minnesota. Dr. Smith was the medical founder of MinuteClinc and its retail clinic model, and is currently the Chief Medical Officer for Consult A Doctor, a national telemedicine company focused on care delivery models.
Donald Gehrig, MD
Since 1980 Dr. Gehrig practices general internal medicine in St. Paul, MN. Initially in a group practice, Don started his solo, independent clinic-office in 1999. and in 2012 he dissolved all of his provider contracts with third party payers. Dr Gehrig now enjoys a thriving Direct Pay practice. He is a strong advocate for patient-centered, private, and independent medical practice. He believes that patients should and do ultimately determine the value and appropriateness of their healthcare in active collaboration with their personal physician(s). Dr. Gehrig provides a confidential medical decision making relationship to patients and families. He joined the MPPA Board of Directors in 2011.
David Feinwachs, JD, PhD
Dave Feinwachs joined the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) in 1981, and served as MHA’s general counsel and director of advocacy until 2010. With varied talents and expertise, Dave is a licensed nursing home administrator, an assistant professor of health law and policy at the University of Minnesota, and a teacher in the U. of M. School of Public Health. Dave holds Masters’ degrees in Hospital Administration and Medical Sociology and a Ph.D. in health care management from the University of Minnesota, as well as a law degree from the William Mitchell College of Law. In 2005, Dave was named among Minnesota’s 25 most influential healthcare lawyers by Minnesota Physician Magazine. In 2011, he received the Minnesota Nurses Association Paul and Sheila Wellstone Social Justice Award — “Given to someone who speaks out “courageously and consistently for others” and has had an “unwavering voice…undiminished by political tides.” In 2012, he was the recipient of the Health Reform Advocate of the Year award given by the Seven County Senior Federation and the Greater Minnesota Health Care Coalition. Dave has testified before Congressional Committees and the Minnesota Legislature on issues of Medicaid fraud and lack of transparency and accountability in Minnesota’s public health care programs
Gregory Plotnikoff, MD
Gregory A. Plotnikoff, MD, MTS, FACP, strongly believes that medicine is a profession in the service of healing. Greg is a consultative internist and pediatrician who (consciously) chose to attend Harvard University Divinity School and train as a hospital chaplain before entering medical school. In 2016, after more than 20 years in public, university and corporate practice Greg (consciously) chose to open a private, independent practice dedicated to serving patients with chronic, complex illness. He is an active clinician, teacher and researcher with more than 60 first authored articles in the peer-reviewed literature and 23 textbook chapters. While in medical school at the University of Minnesota and while a professor at Keio University Medical School in Tokyo, Japan, he led successful programs to infuse students with a sworn commitment to Hippocratic ideals. This extended to his introduction of the White Coat Ceremony (“hakui shiki”) to Keio University and then to several other Japanese medical schools. For his efforts, he has been awarded an early career distinguished achievement award from both Carleton College and the University of Minnesota Medical School. And, in 2015, the Minnesota Medical Association named him as one of three “Inspiring Physicians.”
Wayne Zuehlke, CPA
Wayne is a retired financial executive with a diverse background in corporate and public
accounting in technology, distribution, service, manufacturing and leasing industries. He
is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas and a Certified Public Accountant and has
successfully managed all financial functions in companies from start-up to mid-size.
Early in his career, he audited many Twin Cities hospitals and has continued to be
interested in the business and economics of medicine.