Blog

October 23, 2018

Understanding Freestanding ERs

Understanding Freestanding ERs

Freestanding ERs such as Frontline ER are emergency rooms that are not attached to any hospital. They have become quite popular in recent years, and for a good reason. Since they started in the 70s, these ERs have been able to offer immediate care to patients when they need it most. It’s the reason why freestanding ER’s such as Frontline ER are usually conveniently located in the neighborhoods, where patients can access them with ease. However, that is not all they offer. Here is a bit more about these types of ERs.

Some Statistics on Freestanding ERs

Until recently, the idea that an ER such as Frontline ER could be available in suburbia was hard for most people to accept. However, Frontline ER and others are helping to change that line of thought. It is in part thanks to advances in medicine in the areas of testing and imaging. In a state like Texas, these types of emergency rooms have caught on. In about five years, they have grown tenfold.

How Freestanding ERs Work

A freestanding ER is not an urgent care center or a retail medical clinic. A retail clinic will only offer necessary testing for blood sugar, blood pressure, strep throat, and other simple procedure. You will not find radiology services or staff with advanced skills in medicine.

The urgent care centers have varying degrees of capability. Some may have specialists while others often have no advanced equipment or staff. Neither the retail clinics nor the urgent care centers operate 24/7 like the freestanding ERs.

Just like a hospital ER, a freestanding ER is open 24/7. You will always have access to an emergency physician and an emergency nurse. There are also imaging technicians, laboratory technicians, and moderately complex blood testing equipment. Most of them have advanced imaging such as ultrasound and topography, besides x-ray.

The difference between a hospital ER and a freestanding ER is how they get patients. The hospital ER gets about 40% of its patients via ambulance. A freestanding ER gets its patients through walk-ins. Very few of these cases require hospital admission; less than 5%, compared to hospital ERs, where the figure is 15-35%.

The Benefits they Offer

Although freestanding ERs such as Frontline ER have some detractors, they have mostly had a positive impact on the health sector. Studies have shown they can achieve a level of care similar to what you get in a hospital. Even for most critical conditions such as heart attacks, these freestanding ERs have degrees of success that are comparable to the general health system. Here are some details about these benefits:

Pioneering New Payment Models

In most ERs, the cost can be quite high, whether the patient has a minor sore throat or a stroke. However, freestanding ERs are introducing changes to this type of thinking. Since they are known to have lower overhead costs, freestanding ERs can pioneer pricing and payment models that deliver, high-quality care.

A Gateway To Targeted Care

The healthcare system in the US is quite fragmented. Freestanding ERs could efficiently connect patient with the needed care close to where they live. In a hospital ER, about 85% of patients are discharged. In a freestanding ER, the patients that require a hospital ER can be taken there instead of patients having to visit whichever is closest to home.

An Alternative To Hospitalization

Hospital admissions account for about a third of all health spending in the US. About 10% of admittances are for patients with conditions that require care and observation but do not require staying. Freestanding ERs can offer short-stay admissions and access to experts. It will help to lower the cost of medical care in the US.

Shorter Waiting Times

Hospital ERs have earned a reputation for making patients wait for hours before a nurse can attend to them. In some cases, this waiting is understandable, sometimes it just a lack of facilities and negligence. The ERs are underfunded, and the doctors are overworked.

In a freestanding ER, this is not the case. The medical experts are always available to serve patients that come in. The waiting times are not as long. One reason is that they are just not getting as many patients as hospitals. You should visit a nearby freestanding ER  whenever you need quick medical assistance.

Flexible Payment Models

Most hospital ERs use a rigid payment model that can be quite damaging to patients financially. However, a freestanding ER can solve all these issues due to their flexible payment models. If you feel that the co-pay is too high, you could also appeal. They will even agree to a payment plan, which ensures you can continue to live comfortably despite your medical emergency.

Summary

If you ever suspect you might experience a medical emergency, do not wait to find out. Get someone to drive you to the nearest freestanding ER in your neighborhood.

Emergency Care, Emergency Room