Health Care

GRAND RAPIDS — Priority Health members who have used the insurer’s cost estimator have saved more than $6.3 million in the two years the online tool has been available.

Nearly one in five Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan members had a prescription for an opioid filled in 2015. The dispensing rate nationally was higher, at 21.4 percent. Between 2010 and 2016, the 36 Blue Cross Blue Shield plans across the U.S. recorded a 493-percent spike in enrollees diagnosed with a disorder associated with opioid use. Those statistics from the Chicago-based Blue Cross Blue Shield Association reflect the opioid epidemic in America that in 2016 resulted in more than 33,000 overdose deaths. MiBiz spoke with Jody Gembarski, a pharmacy manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan who oversees its controlled substance work group, to discuss the association’s analysis and the role the state’s largest health insurer has in responding to the epidemic.

HOLLAND — Holland Hospital plans to begin work early next year on a $14.5 million expansion of its birthing unit to accommodate more newborn deliveries.

Federal lawmakers need to focus on what’s driving health care costs in America that in turn contributes to the rising cost of health coverage.

WYOMING — Six months into its new life as part of the University of Michigan Health System, Metro Health has a clearer view of its future based on capital investments to drive growth.

Greg Loomis doesn’t consider the clattering of construction equipment just outside his office to be a daily distraction, but rather the future of health care in Muskegon County taking shape.

What one Grand Rapids-area physician considers a form of “extortion,” others see as a necessary way to gauge how well doctors keep up with modern medicine.

The heightened use of cheaper generic drugs has not been enough to stem the rising costs of prescription medication for Americans. 

Legislation requiring doctors to use a state-run drug-monitoring system before prescribing a controlled substance represents the “start of a journey” to address the opioid epidemic in Michigan.

Employment in Michigan’s health care sector grew steadily during the first half of the decade, reaching nearly 588,000 jobs as of 2015 and generating an economic impact of about $35 billion.

GRAND RAPIDS — A medical device startup will use a new $2.1 million capital investment to prepare for larger clinical trials for its new product that treats obesity.

EAST GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health plans to relocate long-term acute care to Blodgett Hospital through a partnership with a major national provider in the field.

KALAMAZOO — The launch of a clinical trial in Europe brings a Southwest Michigan medical device startup a step close to the marketplace and an eventual sale.

ZEELAND — On the heels of opening an outpatient surgery center in Grand Rapids in February, a California firm has set its sights on developing another facility in West Michigan.

KALAMAZOO — The level of hiring activity and the frequency of job changes for today’s workers has generated steady growth for companies performing alcohol and drug screening.

GRAND RAPIDS — By creating a $100 million venture capital arm, Spectrum Health joins the ranks of U.S. health systems that invest money in companies developing new ways to treat patients and maintain health.

HOLLAND — Backed by a new $1 million round of funding, Shoulder Innovations Inc. plans to market its implant technology more aggressively to surgeons and health systems.

GRAND RAPIDS — A year ago, Joe Brennan felt excited when Spectrum Health’s MedNow recorded 50 patient visits a week as people started to use the telemedicine service.

GRAND RAPIDS — A new home health care provider in Grand Rapids targets a growing demand for service that’s driven by an aging population and changing consumer preferences.

Spectrum Health stands to regain more than $747,000 it paid in property taxes after successfully earning tax-exempt status on a medical center in Grand Rapids Charter Township.

Federal legislation enacted just before former President Barack Obama left office offers small employers a new option to consider for employee health benefits.

If Mark Gurney can’t find the capital he needs in Michigan, his drug development firm is poised to look for it elsewhere.

The 2,000-plus cyclers who will pedal through West Michigan this June for the Gran Fondo event will do more than just get in a day’s ride. 

West Michigan’s cost advantages for health care services may be eroding.

Michigan hospitals serving distressed areas tend to earn lower quality scores. 

Metro Health Hospital and two hospitals owned by Spectrum Health were ranked among the nation’s top hospitals by The Leapfrog Group, a national health care quality and safety advocate.

The University of Michigan Health System’s acquisition of Metro Health appears on track to close in the near future.

KALAMAZOO — Southwest Michigan’s legacy in the life sciences industry and the area’s strong talent pool led accuFD Inc. to set up shop in Kalamazoo.

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Valley State University seeks to raise $10 million through a capital campaign to coincide with the construction of a $37.5 million academic center along the Medical Mile.

Mike Jandernoa leaves the board at Perrigo Co. plc next spring and in the process ends a link to the company’s past when it was a far smaller producer of medications in rural Allegan.

GRAND RAPIDS — After closing last spring on a $2 million venture capital investment, Ted Spooner began seeking another $8 million for his company, RespondWell LLC, a Grand Rapids-based telehealth provider.

Michigan employers have not transitioned to lower-cost, high-deductible health plans as quickly as the rest of the nation.

New federal regulations that take effect Jan. 1 may require some employers to adjust the incentives they offer to get employees to join their workplace wellness programs.

GRAND RAPIDS — The sale of RespondWell LLC last summer for an undisclosed sum was the first exit recorded by venture capital firm Michigan Accelerator Fund.

GRAND HAVEN TOWNSHIP — Spectrum Health and Holland Hospital collectively put $130,000 in cash toward what was billed as an information and education campaign on a ballot question in the township where the two are developing a medical campus.

SOUTH HAVEN — Frank Sardone sees nothing but positives in the overwhelming voter support for the pending addition of South Haven Health System into Bronson Healthcare Group.

At some point in the coming months, Mark Gurney and directors at Tetra Discovery Partners LLC will decide which road to travel into the future for their company.

As final details come together for combining with the University of Michigan Health System, Metro Health is proceeding with development of a $6 million clinic to treat vascular disease.

 

The availability of scientific and executive management talent and the access to later-stage investment capital remain major issues for Michigan’s life sciences industry.

GRAND RAPIDS — Over the course of four years, Michigan State University researchers managed to take about $300,000 and turn it into more than $4.5 million.

The medical campus under construction west of Rockford in northern Kent County follows a move by Spectrum Health to concentrate care across its footprint into one-stop locations. 

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