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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Freestanding ER vs urgent care. I've had many patients express to me their sticker shock when they received a bill from area freestanding ERs. Bear in mind that the presumption when you step foot into an emergency room is that you have an EMERGENCY. Their objective it to exclude a life threatening condition. If they do not do this, they are in breach of their very reason for existing. So if you go to an ER for "convenience" in order to address a lesser concern, their obligation is still to exclude an emergency and the bill will so reflect. Freestanding ERs have become the equivalent of the corner convenience store -- we are willing to pay $6 for a gallon of milk rather than to go into the grocery store due to a convenience preference. Urgent care facilities are more appropriate for lesser medical concerns. I have also heard many--patients and health professionals--bemoan the expansion of freestanding ERs. Let's be honest, nothing grows in our society if it is not profitable. Every member in a capitalist society votes with our dollar. Each dollar spent is our vote for what whe declare is important to exist in society--whether it's a $1 spent on an ice cream cone or a $1spent on a vice. There is no such thing as a non-voting member in a capitalist economy. The fact that freestanding ERs are on an aggressive growth trajectory indicates that we, as consumers, are making it so through our spending behavior.
from Rajesh Harrykissoon, MD

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