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MyMichigan Health CEO, husband dies in Florida plane crash

The president and CEO of MyMichigan Health, Diane Postler-Slattery, and her husband, Donald Slattery, were killed in a Florida plane crash Tuesday evening.
Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 12:22 PM EST
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MIDLAND, Mich. (WNEM) - The president and CEO of MyMichigan Health, Diane Postler-Slattery, and her husband, Donald Slattery, were killed in a Florida plane crash Tuesday evening.

It happened about 7 p.m. on March 8. The Cessna plane the couple was traveling in disappeared from radar about two miles from the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, where it was scheduled to land, according to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office in Florida.

The plane was flying from Michigan and stopped at McMinnville, Tennessee before taking off for the Florida airport. It was located overnight one mile north of the northbound runway in a densely wooded area, the sheriff’s office said.

The couple was found deceased. Donald Slattery was the owner of the plane, the sheriff’s office said.

“This is a great tragedy for our health system,” said Greg Rogers, executive vice president and chief operating officer of MyMichigan Health. “Diane was a strong, passionate and inspirational leader and was beloved by her family, friends and colleagues. We ask that you keep her family and friends in your thoughts and prayers, and that you respect their privacy during this difficult time.”

Postler-Slattery became president and CEO of MyMichigan Health in 2013.

“She was a visionary and under her leadership we greatly expanded our health system, including affiliations with our Medical Centers in Alpena, West Branch and most recently Sault St. Marie,” Rogers said. “As a nurse herself, she was committed to patient care and the highest level of safety and patient satisfaction. In fact, the comfort for patients and their families was of utmost importance to her ensuring any new facility had a warm, homelike setting including her favorite feature – a cozy fireplace.”

Postler-Slattery also served on the board of trustees for the Michigan Health and Hospital Association. Brian Peters, CEO of the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, said they are devastated over her death.

“Diane was a nurse by background and it was very clear in everything that she did that she cared first and foremost about the patients that Michigan hospitals and health systems are responsible for treating every single day. And that came through loud and clear, whether we were talking about a Medicaid payment reform, whether we were talking about a federal health care policy, whether we were dealing with any number of regulatory or legal issues throughout the last couple of years now dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. It was always the voice of the patient that Diane brought to our discussions. And I think that resonated with her colleagues. That certainly resonated with me and my fellow employees here at the Michigan Health and Hospital Association, who will certainly mourn her loss many, many years to come,” Peters said.

Peters said Diane and Donald Slatterly should be remembered by the legacy they left behind.

“They truly lived the mission of advancing the health of individuals and communities. And I think, yeah, we can take great pride in the fact that they will be remembered for many, many years to come by the impact that they’ve made on individuals and particularly those who are most vulnerable, making sure that everyone had access to high quality, affordable health care here in the state of Michigan and beyond. And I think that’s really their lasting impact,” Peters said.

Postler-Slattery was a pillar in the Michigan community.

“She didn’t just live in the community. She was part of the community. And she took that responsibility to heart in everything that she did. She served on boards, she led campaigns, she got involved. She rolled her sleeves up and got involved herself, and also encouraged those around her to get involved in the community,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO of the United Way of Midland County.

Miller said she will remember Postler-Slattery for her authenticity, her vulnerability, her capacity to have fun, and her commitment to inclusion. Miller said her legacy will be carried on by those close to her.

“Part of her legacy is that we all pull together, work together, and continue the great work that she started here and throughout the state of Michigan. I think that many of us will feel an obligation and honestly, a privilege to continue to live our lives in a way that would honor her,” Miller said.

Postler-Slattery also worked closely with Northwood University. Kristin Stehouwer, academic vice president and provost at Northwood, said Postler-Slattery’s loss will be reached beyond the Midland community.

“She had a national designation as a health care executive. And so I expect that the reverberations of the untimely loss of Diane are going to affect health care at a much greater level than even the Midland community. But also it is a big loss for our community. Northwood University partnered with Diane and her team in the early days of the pandemic to navigate it together. And so that’s the kind of leadership that we will truly miss,” Stehouwer said.

The couple’s bodies are being turned over to the medical examiner for an autopsy.

Several different agencies worked together and were able to locate the crashed plane with the help of drones, the sheriff’s office said. The sheriff’s office’s Criminal Investigations and Crime Scene Unit were on the scene most of the night conducting a forensic examination of the scene.

The National Transportation Safety Board and FAA are taking over the investigation.

The couple is survived by their three children and five grandchildren.

Rogers is the acting CEO for the health system until further notice.

Congressman John Moolenaar, who represents the 4th district of Michigan, released this statement following Postler-Slattery’s death:

“I am heartbroken today by this tragic news. It is devastating for all of us who had the opportunity to work and be friends with Diane and Don. They will always be remembered for their strong faith, generous giving, and making a positive difference in the lives of so many people in our community. I join their family and friends in mourning this tragic loss.”

Stay with TV5 for more updates on this story.