Metro Health picks up GVSU campus contract

October 4, 2010
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Metro Health now has a three-year contract to provide services at the Campus Health Center on Grand Valley State University’s Allendale campus, replacing Spectrum Health.

The Wyoming hospital, which has a neighborhood health center in Allendale, replaced Spectrum Health at the campus facility at the beginning of the current academic year, said Andy Beachnau, director of housing and health services.

“Developing a model of what a campus health center should look like, we benchmarked with some other institutions,” he said. Metro and Spectrum responded to the university’s request for proposals, he added.

Dr. Frank Belsito, vice president of Metro Health Systems and COO of Metro Health Enterprises, is a family practice physician who oversees Metro Health’s 12 neighborhood outpatient centers in addition to the Campus Health Center. He said that in responding to GVSU’s request for proposals earlier this year, Metro agreed to address several issues for students.

At the top of the list was billing, Belsito and Beachnau both said. Previously, the students, faculty and staff using the campus clinic had to pay out of pocket, then seek insurance reimbursement on their own. Under the new approach, Metro Health will bill insurance carriers directly.

“The number one issue, surprisingly, was billing the student’s parents or the student’s health insurance for the care,” Belsito said. “For whatever reason, that had proved to be difficult for the families or the students to get care covered when they did have health insurance through their parents. Consequently, the students were forced either to try to pay out of pocket or to get on a bus and go down to a med center.”

“Metro — I think they did a nice job with technology,” Beachnau said. “If you were to walk into our campus health center or a Metro clinic, they’re able to share charts. We were very impressed with the level of technology that Metro was doing.”

Metro Health last year completed an installation of a system from Epic Systems Corp. that, among other things, allows every related health care site to access the same medical record for a patient.

Metro’s nearby neighborhood outpatient center also played a role in GVSU’s choice, he said.

“When they needed additional services, X-rays or physical therapy or whatever, it was proving to be somewhat difficult to get things scheduled,” Belsito said. “With Metro Health Allendale, we have X-ray, we have physical therapy, we have the ability to do basic lab services.”

Beachnau said that while the location is close to campus, there is no bus service between campus and Metro Health’s Allendale outpatient center.

He said that with more than 5,000 students living on campus plus those in nearby off-campus quarters, there are about 10,000 students within a close radius of the Campus Health Center.

Students rely on the campus center for routine, walk-in visits for immediate health care needs, although appointments are available, Beachnau said. Allergies, immunizations and testing for sexually transmitted diseases are the most common uses for the clinic, he said.

Belsito said the campus location is being staffed with physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners under the supervision of a medical director.

GVSU owns and maintains the building.

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