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Grand Valley State University health check for Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan Counties


Grand Valley State University released its 12th Annual Health Check for Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan Counties.

In Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business 2021 Health Check, researchers identified two standout trends: the increased use of telemedicine and Emergency Department usage.

After the Affordable Care Act was implemented and Medicaid programs were expanded, the expectation was that Emergency Department usage would decline.

“Now that they have insurance, they’d be able to get a regular care provider.”

Daniel Montanera is assistant professors of economics at GVSU and co-author of the report.

“But what we’re seeing in the Michigan data, even though there was a small increase in 2014 to 2015, ever since there’s been a decline in Michigan and our comparison groups. So, what we could be seeing is the beginning, even if it took a little while, a year or two, that it could be that these newly insured patients are finally getting access to regular sources of primary care and relying less on emergency departments.”

Meanwhile, data suggests providers and patients are relying more on telehealth.

“What it’s showing is providers really getting behind telehealth seeing it as having these important applications, not just for rural residents, but also for urban residents as well and how it could be a way to overcome the different access barriers that urban residents face.”

The coronavirus pandemic promoting the expanded use of telehealth. Montanera suggests massive growth of its use will be identified in next year’s report.