Research shows Michigan's family physicians are playing an important role in the state's physical and financial health. Dr. Tina Tanner, one of the state's longtime family medical providers, says expanding the state's Medicaid program in 2014 led to 650-thousand lower-income residents having health insurance, many for the first time. Tanner says she has many new patients who, in the past, had to use the hospital emergency room for routine care.
"While they can do it, they do it at a much higher cost than will happen in my office. So, by just shifting that burden from the emergency room into a primary-care office, we’ve saved the state already."
While Michigan is considered a leader for its number and quality of medical schools, Tanner says it's noteworthy that the state ranks 48th in the nation for the average salary of primary care physicians and many medical students can't afford to consider practicing in Michigan because of the heavy student-debt burden they carry.