Healthcare Highways Announces Addition of New Board Members Jack Martin and Carlos Zaffirini as Company Expands Already Strong Partnerships in Austin Community


FRISCO, TX — May 9, 2023 Healthcare Highways today announced the addition of Jack Martin, the founder of Public Strategies, Inc., and Carlos Zaffirini, the President of Adelanto Healthcare Ventures (AHCV), to its board of directors as the company continues to expand its already strong partnerships in the Austin community. Martin and Zaffirini will serve on the Healthcare Highways board of directors alongside other prominent Texas leaders, including Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and Austin-based Santé Ventures founding partners Doug French and Dr. Joe Cunningham.

Healthcare Highways is a Texas-based organization that helps local hospital systems, employers, and providers reintroduce desperately needed competition into the healthcare marketplace, lowering the cost of healthcare coverage for Texas families. Healthcare Highways’ unique approach ensures the Texas health insurance market isn’t just dominated by large, national insurance carriers, ensuring a more fair, competitive, and affordable market.

These additions to the board come as Healthcare Highways is already lowering the cost of healthcare in Austin. Healthcare Highways has created a high-performance provider network, available to local employers for use in their employee health plans, that is centered around St. David’s HealthCare facilities and many of Austin’s highest-performing local and independent providers.

This new, collaborative approach to employee healthcare coverage directly benefits Austin employers. In the last two years, four large school districts in Central Texas, including in the Austin area, have made the switch to this high-performance network. Healthcare Highways is seeing significant membership growth and, on average, has successfully reduced members’ medical spend by approximately 25% relative to the legacy insurance carriers.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Jack and Carlos to our Healthcare Highways team,” said Dallas Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith. “They will both be tremendous assets as we make healthcare more affordable in Austin and across Texas.”

“I’m honored to join this diverse group of Texans who are committed to cultivating talent in our Austin community,” said President of Austin-based Adelanto Healthcare Ventures, Carlos Zaffirini. “Healthcare Highways is already doing exceptional work advancing health equity for our underserved neighbors in Austin, and we are just getting started.”

“Healthcare Highways is challenging healthcare to do better,” said Santé Ventures founding partner Doug French. “Their innovative and transformative approach is exactly what we need more of to assist our many diverse communities here in Austin.”


Biographies of current board members of Healthcare Highways:

Michael Wilson

Michael G. Wilson is the founder, CEO and head cheerleader of Healthcare Highways, a father of two, and a leader of hundreds who believes collaboration breeds candor, integrity, ingenuity, and drive. Michael has more than 36 years of experience in healthcare consulting, building out high-performance value-based networks and consulting with hospital systems and employers. A 5-time All-American gymnast and NCAA Champion, Michael was a member of the World Cup and World Championship teams in 1978 and 1979 and earned a coveted position on the 1980 US Men's Olympic Gymnastics team. Over his career, Michael has successfully founded and led multiple healthcare companies that engender competition and empower American businesses and families with alternative, sustainable solutions for quality healthcare.

Bart Conner

Bart Conner has built an impressive business and philanthropic career focused on his passions, leading to, among many things, the TV production company Perfect 10 Productions and the Bart Conner Gymnastics Academy in Norman, Oklahoma — one of the largest and best-equipped gymnastics centers in the United States. A member of three US Olympic teams, Bart Conner is the only American male gymnast to win gold medals at every level of national and international competition. Bart currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Special Olympics, one of many charitable endeavors he and his wife dedicate themselves to.

Joe Cunningham, MD

Joe Cunningham is board certified in both internal medicine and quality assurance and peer review. He is a Managing Director and founding partner of Santé Ventures and is nationally recognized for his expertise across healthcare delivery systems, physician associations and compensation models. Prior to founding Santé, Dr. Cunningham was a healthcare Venture Partner with Austin Ventures and was previously the Vice Chair of the Ascension Health Ventures investment committee. He is also the former Chief Medical Officer of the Providence Health System and Executive Director of the 300-physician Providence Health Alliance, both of which belong to the Ascension Health system. Currently, he serves on advisory boards for both United Healthcare and Health Care Services Corporation.

Stan Dennis

Stan Dennis has over 30 years of experience in healthcare services and payer services. Mr. Dennis is currently the Managing Director at Gauge Capital and was an Operating Partner at Welsh, Carson, Anderson and Stowe. Prior to WCAS, Mr. Dennis was an Executive Vice President for Optum, responsible for over $10 billion in Physician Services, Post Acute-care, and Specialty Network Businesses. He has held several executive leadership roles throughout his career, where he successfully scaled health care businesses at Texas Health Resources (THR), Anthem Health Plan, Allina Health System, and Phycor.

Doug French

Doug French is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Santé Ventures. Mr. French has more than 30 years of experience as a distinguished healthcare executive. A Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, he has published and spoken extensively on healthcare ventures, innovation, and IT. Formerly, Mr. French served St. Louis-based Ascension Health — the largest nonprofit system in the United States with an operating revenue of $18 billion — as president and chief executive officer, bringing growth to more than 70 facilities operating in 36 markets and 20 states.

Jack Martin

Jack Martin is an entrepreneur, businessman, and rancher. He is perhaps best known for his behind-the-scenes advice to C-suite executives, navigating them through strategies involving their most complex challenges.

Early in his career, Jack served as Executive Assistant to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas. He remained one of the Senator’s most trusted advisors and friends throughout his career. In 1988, Jack founded Public Strategies (PSI) in Austin, Texas, which grew into one of the most successful corporate advisory firms in the world. PSI was later acquired by London-based WPP and merged with Hill & Knowlton; the combined entity is known today as Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Jack also serves as Chairman of the board of Baylor Scott & White Health.

In November 2023, Jack will be inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame. The Texas Business Hall of Fame honors the accomplishments and contributions of outstanding leaders in the state by celebrating and telling their stories. He was nominated for this honor as a result of his significant contributions both in business as well as in his philanthropic and civic engagement in his local communities.

Mike McCabe

As an original founder and current Chief Executive Officer of WebTPA Employer Services, Mike McCabe brings 30+ years of managed healthcare consulting and leadership experience to Healthcare Highways. After earning his MBA from Southern Methodist University, Mr. McCabe began his professional career at the consulting firm of Coopers & Lybrand in the Actuarial, Benefits and Compensation Practice, where he handled building, negotiating, managing, and auditing all facets of employer benefit offerings. Channeling his experience as a consultant along with an entrepreneurial insight into the healthcare industry, he identified a need in the market for a flexible benefits administrator able to meet the dynamic needs of large employers, and WebTPA was born. He has grown the company from a start-up in the mid-1990s serving local Texas hospitals to a multi-state enterprise of 500+ employees and more than $65 million in annual revenue.

Emmitt Smith

Emmitt Smith is a professional football icon who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 15 years and amassed many records that still stand today, including most career rushing yards and most career rushing touchdowns. He has three Super Bowl appearances, membership in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and was selected to the NFL 100 All-Time Team. Currently, Mr. Smith is an entrepreneur and runs several companies spanning real estate, construction, and technology. He is active in charitable outreach in the Dallas area and on a national level, providing educational opportunities and unique experiences for underserved youth. In addition, Smith is in-demand as a motivational speaker and best-selling author.

Dan Thomas

 Starting his career as a CPA at KPMG, Dan Thomas spent several years with Medical Care International, Inc., a national surgical center company, before becoming the COO, president, and later the CEO of Concentra, Inc. Mr. Thomas grew Concentra from $15 to $620 million in revenues before joining Viant, a leading healthcare cost-management company that served the nation's largest health insurance companies, third-party administrators, government agencies, and employers. After Viant was sold for $900 million, Mr. Thomas brought his expertise to Provista, expanding its growth through strategic acquisitions for six years as its president and CEO before it was sold.

Scott Wood

Scott Wood is a nationally recognized insurance industry expert with 30 years of experience in insurance company operations, administration, marketing, strategic planning, risk management, product development, reinsurance, and alternative funding, including self-funded plans. Mr. Wood is president of Insurance Program & Risk Management (IPRM), which boasts a record of increasing profits for insurance companies, claims administrators, reinsurers, and MGUs. Previously, Mr. Wood held concurrent positions as CEO and Chief Operating Officer while at Independence Holding Co. (NYSE: IHC). He was also CEO of Insurers Administrative Corp. (IAC), a TPA of health insurance programs, before joining Healthcare Highways' Board of Directors. Mr. Wood is also Managing Partner and Principal of Benefit Commerce Group (BCG), an employee-benefits consulting firm.

Carlos Zaffirini

Carlos Zaffirini is an attorney and entrepreneur who earned his BBA and JD from The University of Texas at Austin. He is the CEO of AHCV, a healthcare finance consulting company with offices in Washington, D.C.; Austin; Nashville; Tallahassee; and Laredo. He also founded Zaffirini Law, a Texas-based law firm with national reach, and invests in multiple ventures ranging from healthcare to fintech. A civic leader committed to public service through philanthropy, he prioritizes charitable interests in education and healthcare.

Carlos’ passion for public service is reflected in his philanthropy for organizations such as the Texas Access to Justice Foundation, South Texas Food Bank, Junior Achievement, and a variety of programs that enhance the quality of life of low-income Texans and their access to education, health, and justice. A Guardian member of the Champion of Justice Society, he partnered with the UT Law Foundation to honor his parents by establishing the Carlos Sr. and Senator Judith Zaffirini Access to Justice Initiative, which pays for Texas bar exam review courses and exam fees for low-income law students committed to increasing access to justice for low-income Texans.

About Healthcare Highways

Healthcare Highways is a health plan and pioneer in the creation of high-performance networks that embrace innovation and align providers, employers, and employees. Healthcare Highways enables health systems and self-funded employers to declare independence from legacy health insurance carriers by reintroducing competition into the local market. Their network and health plan solutions work in concert to empower local employers, providers, and their communities by controlling rising healthcare costs and offering meaningful choice when it comes to quality care. For more information, please visit and connect with us on LinkedIn.