Grand Rapids ranked No. 9 in nation for health care
The health care in the Grand Rapids area ranked No. 9 nationally in a recent listing on Livability.com, a website that rates small to mid-size cities based on a number of different factors, including health care.
In its listing for Grand Rapids, the website highlighted low health care costs, longer average life expectancies, beautiful surroundings and nationally-ranked hospitals as reasons for the ranking. Many of the statistics upon which the ranking was based come from Healthcare Bluebook, a website that provides information on the health care systems in different parts of the country.
According to Livability.com, a typical Grand Rapids resident spends 31 percent less on healthcare than the national average. Of the cities ranked on the website, Grand Rapids has the third lowest expenditure on health care. The website hypothesizes that the low cost is due to intense competition between hospitals in the Grand Rapids area.
“A total of 12 local hospitals, three of which hold national rankings, serve the Grand Rapids area. These hospitals compete for patients, which lowers medical expenses,” the website explained, adding, “Residents also benefit from a high number of primary care physicians and dentists.”
The website notes that Grand Rapids not only offers a large number of hospitals, but a high quality of care.
“The quality of health care facilities in Grand Rapids exceeds that of even most communities twice its size. Two hospitals here (Spectrum Health and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital) are ranked nationally in specialties by U.S. News & World Report. Mercy Health Saint Mary’s also holds high-performing rankings in four specialties,” the website read.
Cheryl Feenstra, chair of the Calvin nursing department, agrees with the high ranking, saying that many nursing students find jobs in Grand Rapids because of the large number of health care facilities and high-quality care.
“The health care facilities in Grand Rapids are excellent, and the students know that from their clinical experiences. Both Spectrum Hospital and Mercy Health Care Systems have magnet status, which means that they are excellent places for nurses to work and for patients to get care,” Feenstra said.
Calvin junior Hannah Reed also affirmed the ranking. “I’ve had relatively good experiences. When I had to take my friend into the ER, we got in, got taken care of and didn’t have many bills to take care of afterward.”
In addition to strong health care facilities and low cost, the website suggested that the natural beauty of the Grand Rapids area helps keep residents healthy.
“With the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan to their west and lush forests to their north, south and east, residents of Grand Rapids have easy access to outdoor adventures. Inside the city limits, nearly 1,600 acres of parkland allow families to play, exercise and relax,” the website noted.
The website said that the city’s “growing office environment, vibrant nightlife and quaint shops,” as well as its summer festivals and craft brewing industry, also play a role in keeping the Grand Rapids area healthy.