Mark Sanchez

Mark Sanchez

Senior writer, covers health care, finance and life sciences. Twitter: @masanche

Grand Valley State University economist Paul Isely still believes the U.S. economy could dip into a recession within a year, although West Michigan is likely to experience a “soft landing.”

Chemical Financial Corp. would extend further across the Midwest with the proposed merger with Wayzata, Minn.-based TCF Financial Corp.

Reforming Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance system remains a high priority in Lansing after a proposal during the 2018 lame-duck legislative failed to gain the support needed to pass. State House leaders this month, soon after convening the new legislative session, formed a special committee to look at no-fault reform, and the first bill introduced in the Senate offers a basic outline for reforms.

KALAMAZOO — Western Michigan University plans to launch an online program designed to improve the ability of I.T. professionals to protect against and mitigate hacks and data breaches. The eight-week, online certification program from WMU’s Haworth College of Business and College of Engineering and Applied Sciences starts in March and consists of four courses in high-demand cybersecurity specialties.

HOLLAND — Acquiring the assets of a Charlotte-based plastics molder gave Clarion Technologies Inc. a broader customer base, added manufacturing capacity and the ability to move production closer to clients. The Holland-based Clarion Technologies acquired certain assets and a book of business from CNI Plastics LLC of Charlotte. Clarion Technologies redeployed the production equipment acquired in the deal to its facilities in Greenville, Mich., Anderson, S.C., and Garland, Texas.

Mercantile Bank Corp. recorded strong earnings and loan growth to end 2018, a trend executives expect should continue into 2019.

 Trustees at Grand Valley State University today named Philomena Mantella as its next president.

The federal tax reform Congress enacted at the end of 2017 comes with significant complexity that tax professionals say they’re still sorting through as the 2019 tax season begins. For the first time, tax advisers are beginning to prepare and file returns for clients under the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Given the depth of the changes and the complexity of the new federal tax code, the only certainty for the 2019 tax season is the expectation that business owners will need to spend more time with their CPAs and tax advisers as they dive into the details and work through their returns.

GRAND RAPIDS — Spectrum Health joined a consortium of large health systems across the U.S. as way to reduce the cost and ensure the availability of generic medications. Through the nonprofit Civica Rx, the Grand Rapids-based health system hopes to cut by 20 percent or more the cost of generic drugs used in surgeries and patient treatments.

Lost in my inbox during the year-end shuffle was an item serving as a reminder that despite massive changes occurring in the industry, one steady constant remains in Michigan’s health care sector. In this case, it was the annual report from the American Medical Association that once again identifies Michigan as one of the least competitive states in the country for commercial health insurance.

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