Press Release

June 26, 2019

Media Contact:
Jo Stainsby, Director, Office of Public Information
Office: 405-522-7474 or Cell: 405-365-6454

Katelynn Burns, Sr. Public Information Representative
Office: 405-522-7266 or Cell: 405-397-6757


OHCA names Defender of Health award winner

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) has named former OHCA board chairman Tony Armstrong as recipient of the 2019 Dr. T.J. Brickner Defender of Health Award.

A resident of Broken Arrow, Armstrong was appointed to the OHCA board in 2007 by the Senate Pro Tem and served until 2019. He served as board chairman for the last year and a half of his tenure. Prior to his appointment to the OHCA board, Armstrong retired in June 2006 as the president and chief executive officer of Muskogee Regional Medical Center. He also served as president and CEO of Bay Health in Bay City, Mich., where he also was an executive with Bay Medical Center, and as president of the Hospital Council of East Central Michigan.

OHCA Board Chairman Stan Hupfeld presented the award during the agency’s June board meeting.

“Tony Armstrong has worked tirelessly to improve the health of Oklahomans served by SoonerCare,” said Hupfeld. “He has been a strong advocate of the agency’s mission and brought a wealth of experience to our board.”

The OHCA presented the first Brickner Award in 2005 to its namesake, a founding member of the OHCA board.  The award was created by the agency to recognize some of the best examples of dedication and personal commitment to the low income, uninsured and underinsured residents of Oklahoma.  The recognition celebrates the achievements of an individual or individuals, who work tirelessly in the service of other people, either in health care or a related field.

“We appreciate Tony’s years of public service to this agency by serving on the OHCA board. His steadfast support and commitment to the agency and the Oklahomans we serve are greatly appreciated,” said CEO Becky Pasternik-Ikard

Armstrong joins a notable group of people who have been recognized with the Brickner award including former OHCA CEO Dr. Garth Splinter, Charles “Ed” McFall, Dr. Steven Crawford, Mike Dover, Anne Roberts, former Senator George Miller, former State Representatives Dr. Doug Cox and Calvin Anthony.


CUTLINE: OHCA Board Chairman Stan Hupfeld (left) presents past OHCA Board Chairman Tony Armstrong with the 2019 Dr. T.J. Brickner Defender of Health Award during the agency’s June board meeting.


About the Oklahoma Health Care Authority
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) administers two health programs for the state. The first is SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program. SoonerCare works to improve the health of qualified Oklahomans by ensuring that medically necessary benefits and services are available. Qualifying Oklahomans include certain low-income children, seniors, the disabled, those being treated for breast or cervical cancer and those seeking family planning services. The second program OHCA operates is Insure Oklahoma, which assists qualifying adults and small business employees in obtaining health care coverage for themselves and their families. Currently, there are 805,273 Oklahomans enrolled in OHCA’s programs. The agency contracts with a network of 52,414 providers. For more information, visit or