According to A. Berner and C.L. Van Tonder, human resources researchers at Rand Afrikaans University, today’s businesses can no longer succeed by resting on the laurels of their predecessors. Consumers in a globalized, world-at-your-fingertips market expect services when and how they need them.
This has been the case with the boom of freestanding emergency rooms (FSERs) in Texas. Since 2010, more than 150 independently owned and about 50 hospital-associated FSERs have sprung up across the state. Almost overnight these emergency care facilities saturated the major metropolitan markets, and are making a surge toward mid-size cities.
What Makes FSERs so Appealing?
Full range of services
Quality medical care
Short wait times
The Future of Emergency Care is Now Many patients don’t realize there are three unique types of freestanding emergency care facilities:
Minute Clinics/Retail Clinics – These are the types of no-appointment-necessary doctor’s offices you’ll find inside of retail stores and are typically staffed by pharmacists, nurses, and nurse practitioners.
Urgent Care Centers – Sick and can’t get in to see your regular doctor, urgent care treatment centers offer patients the ability to get the care they need. Staffed by doctors, but they typically utilize physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners.
Freestanding Emergency Rooms – FSERs are open 24/7, offer medical treatment from upset stomach to traumatic injury, and are fully staffed with medical professionals from general practitioners to surgeons.
All three of these new medical care platforms are beneficial because they help to take cost out of healthcare for patients and medical professionals. Consider the following three scenarios, and how standalone providers serve a vital role in eliminating unnecessary cost:
Timmy is 6 years old, and has a fever. His parents take him to the ER. They spend 10 minutes with a doctor who gives an Ibuprofen prescription. Timmy’s fever could easily have been treated with more personalized care at a retail clinic.
Saturday afternoon Frank was mowing his yard, and tries to repair a jam in the blade. He cuts his hand. Frank goes to the ER where he receives three stitches and an ice pack. Frank would have saved time and money visiting urgent care.
Jeanne is 65 years old, has a history of heart disease and was released from the hospital one week ago. She begins to experience swelling in hands and feet. If Jeanne returns to the hospital, it is likely she’ll be readmitted, and if she utilizes Medicaid for treatment coverage, the hospital will typically receive a penalty for remittance so soon after release. Jeanne likely needed a diuretic to help reduce water retention. Freestanding emergency rooms typically staff physicians who specialize in cardiology who could easily diagnose and treat this symptom without hospitalization.
As many medical institutions have seen, medical benefits cover a certain amount of “staff” and “stuff,” and this coverage is per fully treated patient not visit. FSERs and other emergency options are so beneficial to provide triage keeping patients out of the hospital.
Return to House Calls It’s clear that in the past five years, FSERs and their counterparts have been on the cutting edge of medical care, but how much different does the health care field look five years on? According to Laura Landro in her Wall Street Journal article, “A ‘No Emergency’ Paramedic,” in August of 2015, we may be looking forward to a return to house calls. Paramedics in Wilkes-Barre, PA visit patients who have recently left the hospital, or need extra care. Paramedics are highly trained and more than capable of checking up on patients to make sure they fully understand their treatment instructions, check vitals, and even perform home safety reviews. According to a study of these Pennsylvania paramedics, the average patient who utilized this home care service saved $8,500.
Preventive Care Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA) scans originally cost about $1,000 and were used to measure bone density. Recently, DXA scans have been used to allow patients a more thorough understanding of their body mass composition. The results of these scans can be used to predict heart disease and diabetes helping patients make changes before it’s too late.
Saving Money and Lives
As the technology has developed, these scans have become much more affordable ranging from $50 to $400 depending on the equipment used. DXA scans, lung and heart imaging, and other preventive services can be provided by FSERs to help patients diagnose and treat illnesses at their earliest stage.
Friendship is the Future Overall, this medical care model should lead to ever increasing cooperation between hospitals, private practices, and freestanding ERs healthcare providers of all kinds. By working together, patients and practices save money and time. Most importantly, patients are able to receive an elevated level of healthcare. Which means they stay healthier longer.
Interested in opening a freestanding emergency department? Contact our ER real estate experts to discuss your opportunities.