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Growth in Freestanding Emergency Clinics Continues

September 14, 2015

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Staffed by board-certified emergency physicians with capabilities that exceed those of urgent care centers, the number of Freestanding Emergency Centers (FEC) continues to grow. With a foothold in Texas, lobbying efforts are underway in a number of other states that would contribute to the rapid growth of non-hospital affiliated FEC.

While not a new concept–the first FEC were introduced in rural areas as early as the 1970s—Texas was the first state to allow freestanding centers without a hospital affiliation. That approval came in 2010 and today there are hundreds of FEC in the state.

With the growth in Texas as a backdrop, several other states are considering allowing FEC without hospital affiliation. A recent report on freestanding centers prepared by the New York State Department of Health indicated there were more than 400 centers operating in 45 different states. Many of these centers have been established in the past five years.

Drilling down, a 2008 survey of 222 centers showed:

  • 86% hospital affiliated (this is dropping as Texas and other states allow non-affiliated FEC)

  • 14% independent (this number is growing)

  • 89% Joint Commission accredited

  • 91% operate 24/7

State regulation varies widely with Texas, Rhode Island and Delaware among the states that allow establishment of FEC without hospital affiliation. As could be expected in this rapidly emerging market, reimbursement also varies widely. In many states, the health department offers information on specific regulations and locations.

Part 2 of our FEC series offers an FAQ on what freestanding centers offer, who they serve and how they are structured.

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EPOWERdoc is a leader in computerized Emergency Department Information Systems (EDIS), using a design team comprised of emergency physicians and nurses. Additionally, EPOWERdoc provides superior medical content for other vendor EMR builds. As it was from the beginning, the EPOWERdoc mission is centered around excellence, integrity and service. Every employee is committed to going above and beyond in meeting the needs of the client, while focusing on the specialized needs of the physicians, nurses and hospitals they serve.

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