Are Free Standing ER’s Really More Expensive?


Dispelling the Myth about the Pricetag on Freestanding ERs

The first free standing ER, or freestanding emergency rooms in Texas started operating back in 2010, and even though eight years have passed there is still a lot of misinformation and confusion about the type of service these centers provide and more specifically, the cost of these services.

In recent months, a lot of media outlets have been reporting stories claiming that free-standing emergency rooms are overcharging customers for their treatments. These reports are misleading, and confusing for the public and unfair to the free-standing emergency centers.

Most of the misinformation and confusion comes from a poor understanding of what a free-standing emergency room is.

What is a Free-Standing Emergency Room?

A free-standing emergency room is a medical facility that is licensed by the state to provide 24-hour emergency care to patients.

A free-standing ER offers the same high-quality care and utilizes the same high-quality equipment and technology as a hospital-based emergency room. Just as a hospital ER, free-standing ER’s like Altus Emergency Centers are always required to have a board-certified Emergency Medicine physician or ER trained MD’s on site, they must be opened 24-hours a day every day of the year, and have advanced lifesaving, imagining and laboratories within the facility.

This means that a Free-Standing ER operates under the same strict standards of a hospital ER, the only difference being that Free-Standing Emergency Rooms are not physically attached to a hospital facility.[/vc_column_text][us_image image=”25438″ size=”full”][vc_column_text]

Are Free Standing Emergency Rooms More Expensive?

In a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine in December of 2017, the researchers concluded that the average cost of a visit to a Free-Standing Emergency Room was cheaper or comparable to a similar visit to a Hospital-Based Emergency Room.

According to the study, the average price of a visit to a Free-Standing ER in 2015 was $2,199 while the average cost of a visit to a Hospital-Based ER was $2,259.

The study shows that although not all treatments, procedures or tests performed at Free-Standing Emergency Rooms were necessarily cheaper, the pricing is comparable to those of a Hospital-Based Emergency Department. To better illustrate how close the pricing structure between Free-Standing and Hospital-Based ER’s is here are some of the findings published in the study.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Diagnosis or Procedure Free-Standing ER Pricing Hospital-Based ER Pricing
Fracture of Upper Limb $1,783 $2,263
Open Wounds of Neck, Head, and Trunk $1,494 $1,721
CT Scan of Abdomen/Pelvis $1,560 $1,625
ECG $155 $235
Transportation Services $171 $456


Dispelling the Myth

At Altus Emergency Centers, our biggest concern is that patients won’t seek the necessary medical attention they need out of fear of being overcharged. Because of this, we feel the need to dispel the myth that we are more expensive than Hospital-Based ER’s.

Our facilities were created to provide convenience by allowing patients to be treated faster than they would be at a Hospital-Based ER were overcrowding has been an issue for years. According to ProPublica’s ER Wait Watcher, the average wait time for an ER patient to see a doctor in the state of Texas is 19 minutes, most Free-Standing ER’s advertise a maximum wait time of 10 minutes, at Altus Emergency Centers patients see a doctor as soon as they come in, there is no wait time.

Our facilities also strive to make emergency care more accessible to those communities who don’t have a hospital nearby.

Altus Emergency Centers provides the same quality emergency medical attention as any Hospital-Based ER, with the added benefits of convenience, nicer facilities, and more personalized treatment for the same price.[/vc_column_text][us_image image=”25440″ size=”full”][vc_column_text]

Know Where to Go In the Event of an Emergency

If you are ever in need of quality emergency care, you will not have to wait in line at Altus Emergency Centers.

All of our ERs are fully equipped and open 24/7. Don’t let mislead information effect where you choose your ER care. Our promise to you is to always serve with the very best medical technology, caring and knowledgeable ER trained staff, low wait times and hassle-free billing.

Patient Advocates, You Can Call!

Altus Emergency Patient Advocates are here to help you. We help you decipher the complexity of the medical industry to uncover how it can be most beneficial to you. We have focused our efforts on helping people better understand their insurance plans and how our billing works.

Our Patient Advocates department is available to help patients with everything billing related from reviewing health insurance claims to aiding in the event of an appeal of payment denial by their insurance provider. Our priority is and always been the wellbeing of our patients, and our doctors follow care protocols to ensure the best medical care is provided.

If you have any questions regarding your billing, please don’t hesitate to contact our Patient Advocate Department. Please feel free to call (469) 732-3151 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm and ask for the Patient Advocate.