What is a Freestanding Emergency Room?
A freestanding ER provides emergency medical services at a place outside a regular hospital campus. It is not attached to a hospital or even located near one. Keep in mind, a freestanding ER is not the same as an urgent care center. A freestanding ER can treat any of the conditions a hospital-based ER could. An urgent care can only treat minor injuries and illnesses.
ER of Texas Freestanding Emergency Rooms are popping up everywhere in the DFW area. With so many options for healthcare now available, it’s sometimes challenging to know whether you should be going to a hospital emergency room, a freestanding ER, urgent care center or make an appointment with your family physician. When you’re in need of care, you have to make a fast decision about which alternative is right for you at the time. It’s often not possible to get hold of your family doctor, particularly at short notice or outside regular business hours.
In most cases, coming into a freestanding emergency room or clinic should be your first choice, for a number of reasons.
- Open 24/7
- Easier Access
- Lower Traffic Volumes
- Wider Variety of Referral Options
- You Won’t Be Left Waiting
- No Appointment is needed
Why You Should Use A Freestanding Emergency Room
Most freestanding emergency rooms (ERs) are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, compared with urgent care facilities that might offer limited extended hours. This means it makes no difference what time of the day or night you realize you need medical attention. You can come directly to the clinic and receive the same level of care from board-certified emergency physicians as you would at a hospital ER. According to the American College of Emergency Room Physicians (ACERP), two-thirds of emergency visits take place outside business hours or when doctors’ offices are closed.
The Problem of Hospital ER Wait Times and Crowding
Hospitals tend to be located in areas zoned for the type of facilities they typically inhabit. Happily, this isn’t the case for freestanding emergency rooms. A study conducted in 2007 by The Journal of Emergency Medicine showed that 92% of freestanding ERs were located in urban areas, compared with only 58% of hospital emergency facilities. Whether you’re using private or public transport, the closer you are to getting help when you need it the better your chances of relief.
Advantages of Using a Freestanding Emergency Room
- Faster service: Given what we know about how long patients spend in the emergency department (135 minutes on average, and much longer for many patients) and the dangers of not being treated right away, faster service should be a top priority for every patient. Freestanding emergency rooms aren’t tied to huge hospital facilities and their bureaucracies, so they’re able to see patients more quickly.
- Quality care: Just like hospital emergency departments, federal law requires freestanding ER facilities to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Freestanding emergency rooms must have emergency physicians on-site at all times, keep medications on-site, provide round-the-clock lab and imaging services, and provide lifesaving care immediately.
- Accessibility: Most emergency department visits (85%) occur in metropolitan areas.1 For many people in rural communities, getting to the city for an emergency room visit can be quite a trek. This is another advantage of freestanding emergency rooms—accessibility. Many standalone ERs are located in suburban and rural areas, and every minute counts in an emergency.
- Convenience: Anyone who has ever been to a big hospital knows the struggles of navigating a huge medical complex. Your first battle is finding a place to park in a huge lot or—more likely—a confusing parking structure. Then your challenge is actually finding the ER in what is often a maze of buildings. Standalone ERs are much more manageably sized—no struggling to find a parking space or the right building. It’s one less thing to worry about when you’re already stressed in an emergency.
- Insurance accepted: Federal law now requires that private (employer sponsored) health plans offer essential health benefits, which includes emergency services. It’s important to note that your copay at the time of service varies depending on the plan you selected, but should be stated on your membership card. A trip to The Emergency Center is billed and processed just like a hospital ER visit – not your primary doctor or urgent care facility copay. If you’re unsure, our team will check your benefits prior to admitting you and confirm this information. At this time, no freestanding ER accepts any government program such as Medicare, Medicaid, CHIPs, or Tricare. Of course, we will treat you if you have these types of insurance, but you will be billed and charged at our current self-pay rates.
ER of Texas Emergency Center
Our ERs and walk-in clinics are open 24/7, and our board-certified doctors treat all minor and major medical emergencies.