Ted Roelofs

Ted Roelofs of Kentwood, has been a general assignment reporter at Bridge since 2012 and has written extensively on health care in that time as well as prison and juvenile justice reform. Roelofs spent nearly three decades at the Grand Rapids Press where he covered politics, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rural poverty and mental illness among the homeless. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Reach Ted at ted.roelofs@gmail.com


Michigan doctors not trained to treat opioid abuse ‒ and don't want to be

July 12, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

A statewide survey found most primary care physicians don’t want training to administer the “gold standard” treatment of opioid abuse, even as overdose deaths tripled in Michigan.

State ends ties to West Michigan mental-health agency for poor and disabled

July 1, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Michigan is ending its contract with Lakeshore Regional Entity, which coordinates behavioral health care for 30,000 Medicaid patients, citing “fiscal mismanagement” and debt. Agency blames a widespread lack of funding.

Payday blues: Rural Michigan and the quick-cash debt hole

June 26, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

With interest rates that can top 400 percent a year, payday lenders sprout in small-town Michigan. Bipartisan legislation in Lansing would rein in lending practices, but there’s no guarantee it will get a hearing.

How one Michigan credit union is helping ease customers from payday loans

June 26, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

After debt, a second chance for rural borrowers through a capped loan program and community education

Suicide, depression on rise in rural Michigan, but psychiatrists are scarce

June 12, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Doctors in the Upper Peninsula and other rural regions report long waits for psychiatric care; child specialists are even harder to find. Can student loan forgiveness for medical residents and telemedicine reduce the gap?

More than a dozen hospitals in rural Michigan at ‘high risk’ of closing

June 12, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

A devastating trend shows few signs of slowing, which means longer waits for an ambulance, distant maternity care and a brutal cycle that may lead more residents (and medical workers) to abandon rural communities.

In Alabama, one rural town reached for its wallet to keep its hospital open

June 12, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Residents who depended on the hospital in tiny Haleyville agreed to pay hikes in sales and property taxes. Their sacrifice in tax-averse Alabama may portend what it will take to keep other rural medical facilities in business.

Anguish in Benton Harbor as years of mistakes lead to a school’s likely demise

June 6, 2019 | Ron French, Ted Roelofs

Teachers blame administrators. Administrators blame the board. The board blames the state. Caught in the middle are students saddled with devastatingly low rates of achievement.

Michigan Rep. Larry Inman: I’m not guilty of bribery, extortion and lying

May 28, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Inman denies that he offered to vote no on a labor bill in exchange for campaign contributions from a union. His lawyer says Inman has “no plan to resign right now.”

Michigan emergency rooms are jammed. Identifying mental illness can help.

May 23, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Chronic users of hospital ERs often have mental health or substance abuse issues. Programs in five regions of the state help patients find treatment for underlying problems while easing the burden on emergency rooms.  

Panic attacks and anxiety landed her in Ann Arbor ERs. Today, she serves others.

May 23, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Panic attacks led Lynne Ponder into alcoholism and homelessness. But a pilot program targeted at chronic ER visitors helped her find therapy, a place to live and a sense of purpose.

Mentally ill suspects get help in Miami, jail in Michigan. Guess which works

May 1, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Miami’s innovative program has slashed the number of mentally ill jail inmates in Miami, saving Dade County millions of dollars while providing hope to that region’s most vulnerable residents. Michigan officials are taking stock.

In Miami, judges weigh treatment, not prison, for the mentally ill

May 1, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

A day in Miami-Dade Circuit Court shows the promise of a program that has reduced the region’s jail population and may serve as a model for Michigan.

After surviving mental illness, he works to keep others like him out of jail

May 1, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

In Miami, peer specialist Justin Volpe taps into his own dark past to reach out to criminal suspects with serious mental illness. Michigan court and government officials are studying whether to adopt such a model.

Mounting debt threatens West Michigan Medicaid mental health agency

April 28, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

The state health department threatens closure of Lakeshore Regional Entity, which coordinates behavioral health care for 30,000 recipients in West Michigan. Lakeshore’s board chair threatens suit, says state is to blame.

If Whitmer’s road funding pitch fails, where is Michigan’s Plan B?

April 25, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

A Grand Rapids roads summit provided no clear answers on how Michigan’s Democratic governor and Republican-led Legislature might reach a deal that still raises the more than $2 billion need annually for a roads fix.

Michigan is obese, unhealthy and dying young. And that's costing billions.

April 24, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson, Ted Roelofs

From Detroit to Clare, poor choices and limited access to health care have added up to lower lifetimes for many state residents, making health a gnawing but significant concern to those who live in Michigan and those leading it.

As measles outbreak spreads, Michigan anti-vaxxer group hits Lansing

April 11, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Michigan health officials say 39 residents have contracted the highly contagious disease. But groups opposed to mandatory vaccines are asking lawmakers to preserve their freedom on whether to vaccinate children.

Michigan Commission: Fund courts so judges aren’t turned into fundraisers

April 8, 2019 | Ted Roelofs

Trial judges routinely impose significant court costs on guilty criminal defendants that go to help fund court operations. A state-appointed commission calls the practice corrupting and evidence of a broken system.

Detroit isn’t alone. Car insurance sky-high throughout Michigan, data show

March 28, 2019 | Mike Wilkinson, Ted Roelofs

Look up average rates in your ZIP Code. Guaranteed, they are higher than the national average, adding grist to debate about reforming Michigan’s no-fault laws.