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GVSU releases its 12th Annual Health Check for Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan Counties

Erkmen Aslim, left, and Daniel Montanera Seidman College of Business

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.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.