GVSU Family Health Center adds telehealth services

man wearing medical mask sitting at computer conducting a zoom-like meeting with a womam
Mark Contreras, affiliate clinical faculty and nurse practitioner, conducts a telehealth appointment at the GVSU Family Health Center on Sheldon Boulevard in Grand Rapids.
Image Credit: Valerie Wojciechowski

The GVSU Family Health Center has established telehealth services to ensure patient needs continue to be met during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operated by the Kirkhof College of Nursing, the center is in Grand Rapids' Heartside District, 72 Sheldon Blvd. SE. It serves Grand Valley students, faculty and staff members, plus Heartside and surrounding community members.

Patients with minor illnesses and injuries can contact the GVSU Family Health Center at (616) 331-9830 to schedule a telehealth appointment.

Mark Contreras, affiliate clinical faculty and nurse practitioner, said the center had considered instituting telehealth services before Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home executive order, but found insurers were not consistent with reimbursement for such services. The coronavirus pandemic has brought some standardization for telehealth reimbursement, Contreras said.

He said the secure telehealth platform has audio and video capabilities. Contreras also noted a decrease in missed appointments since the center rolled out telehealth two weeks ago.

"We went from nearly 20 percent no-shows to only one person who missed an appointment," Contreras said. "That's what happens when we eliminate the barriers to an in-person appointment, like transportation and arranging for child care."

Cynthia McCurren, dean of KCON, shared that the FHC is committed to integrating behavioral health care into its services.  

“The COVID-19 crisis has increased the need for behavioral health care in our university community as well as in the greater Grand Rapids area," McCurren said. "We are pleased to now be offering telehealth counseling and behavioral/mental health evaluations each Wednesday through the addition of a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner.”

For more information about FHC, visit https://www.gvsu.edu/fhc/