Healthcare News & Insights

The latest competition: Standalone ERs

Emergency-only medical centers are few and far between, but they’re gaining fans everywhere they open.

The standalone centers are particularly useful in areas where population is growing, but not growing fast enough to create demand for additional full-service hospitals.

The centers allow injured or acutely ill patients to get treatment faster by shortening distances ambulances have to travel. They’re ideal for treating the roughly 85% of emergency department patients who don’t need to be admitted for further treatment. Patients whose condition requires hospital admittance (heart attack, stroke, etc.) are either directed to a hospital by the ambulance crew, or stabilized at the urgent care facility before being transferred to another hospital via in-house ambulance.

Illinois is on the forefront of the trend, after a law last year OK’d the standalone sites. Several have already opened in the past year; one eventually converted to a full-service hospital as demand changed.

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