Freestanding Emergency Departments (FSED’s) are an emerging concept representing a new paradigm of healthcare delivery in the field of Emergency Medicine. FSED’s are owned either by local hospitals or entrepreneurial doctors or other investors who are not necessarily bound by the same rules and regulations.
Pros: They’re open 24 /7 hours. They have high-tech equipment vs Urgent Care Centers. They shorten travel time for suburban and rural patients. They may take overcrowding pressures off of hospital ERs by seeing more minor cases but at a much higher cost than the UCC’s. In many cases wait times are shorter than hospital ERs.
Cons: They are siphoning off patients with minor ailments away from lower cost urgent care centers or doctor’s offices. Ambulances will not generally deliver patients to freestanding facilities. Patients who arrive on their own and need surgery or cardiac procedures need to be transported to a hospital by ambulance. FSED’s are perceived as less safe. They are higher staffed and their overhead is higher. Most patients do not immediately understand or notice the difference between stand alones and hospital based ERs.
FSED’s can charge the same rates as a hospital based ER and their costs of operation are substantially less making them much more profitable.
Patients do not understand the difference between a FSED and an UCC. They may be quite surprised when the bill comes detailing all the hidden costs of the FSED. Consumers, meaning patients and clients, need to be educated. There are examples of people being charged thousands of dollars at a FSED when they would have paid just $100 at a UCC or doctors office.
Most FSED’s are considered out-of-network for many insurance carriers, which may greatly affect the pricing models.
FSEDs are NOT Urgent Care Centers although patients do use FSEDs thinking they are just a fancy name for an UCC only to be shocked when the bill comes and it 10 times what they expected.
New Frontier Group has experienced patients’ frustrations when dealing with exorbitant charges and large balances not covered by their insurance. Prior to entering a facility always contact your insurance provider or their partner (www.newfrontiergroup.com) and ask for their guidance. We care!