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Health Biz (229)

After years of steadily rising rates for employee health coverage, small employers may finally get a little relief this year and next from the steep increases of the past.

Eric Van Middendorp tapped a growing list of West Michigan-based health care, research and funding partners to develop a new medical device that secures patient breathing tubes. Through continued collaboration, the young inventor hopes to bring the product to market within the next two years.

Metro Health Corp.’s decision to partner with Community Health Systems Inc. came down to wanting to maintain “some local control.”

There are many reasons health care costs so much in America. Steve Brill’s explanation: Hospitals and pharmaceutical companies charge way too much and, except for nurses and doctors, the people who run health care in America make too much money.

In offering cash rewards for members who shop around for the best price for their health care services, Priority Health says it wants to see greater cost transparency and even alter the industry’s trajectory.

Certificate-of-need regulations in Michigan help to contain health care costs, although they tend to concentrate some regulated medical services into the hands of fewer care providers, according to a new analysis by a business-labor coalition.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Priority Health each plan to trim health insurance premiums for small businesses beginning with the third or fourth quarter policy renewals.

Continued efforts to better manage medical costs and implement a new economic model are credited for lifting Priority Health’s bottom line for 2014.

Seven years ago, Michigan had 14 entries on an annual list of the 100 best-performing hospitals in the U.S. In the prior year, 16 Michigan hospitals made the list.

North Ottawa Community Health System’s plan to implement a new model for emergency care along with development of a $9.7 million facility follows a broader movement in health care to prevent unnecessary and costly ER visits.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan posted strong results for 2014, both in terms of financial performance and member growth.

A $66.4 million expansion and renovation project provides Mary Free Rehabilitation Hospital the space to grow and to become a national destination for care.

Priority Health has another way for members to calculate what an upcoming medical test or procedure will cost, and then maybe shop around for a better bargain.

Steering the focus to major investments that can affect the market, Alliance for Health has altered its criteria for reviewing health care projects that require state certificate-of-need approval.

Research indicating the start of a migration by West Michigan small businesses away from offering group health coverage stems in part from the option now available for individuals to buy coverage on their own through public health exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act.

Metro Health Corp.’s proposed deal with Community Health Systems Inc. would bring to Grand Rapids a major new player in health care that has the means to alter the competitive landscape.

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