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Research suggests health care industry could have financial troubles well after pandemic

Inside the doctor's office.
Jennifer Morrow

The health care system in Michigan could see continued financial fallout from the pandemic for a long time to come.

That’s one takeaway from a new analysis by researchers at Grand Valley State University.

Erkmen Aslim is a GVSU professor and  co-author of the study. He says health care spending in Michigan initially dropped more than 60% at the start of the pandemic, and still hasn’t recovered.

“This is important because if these individuals are deferring treatment for medical conditions in the long run this can affect their expenditures,” Aslim says. “It can also affect their health outcomes.”

The Michigan Health and Hospital Association says its members have already lost more than $3 billion because of the pandemic.

Aslim says those losses could continue well into 2021.

“We should definitely keep a close eye on this because of serious impacts on providers in terms of revenues, in terms of lost jobs of clinical staff, in terms of freezed salaries,” Aslim says.

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Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Radio’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Radio since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.