Why are freestanding EDs popping up across US? Millennials

Hospitals and health systems like St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Bayfront Health are increasingly investing in freestanding emergency departments as an alternative to the traditional hospital emergency room, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

As costs become more important to patients, hospitals and health systems are searching for more affordable alternatives to traditional care. Jay Wolfson, DrPH, a professor at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa, told the Tampa Bay Times that millennial patients, especially, are more likely to visit a freestanding ED.

"Larger hospital centers like Adventist or Bayfront Health see [freestanding EDs] as being part of their 'extended tentacles' into the community to provide access," Dr. Wolfson said. "Once you're in the system, and you had a good experience, you'll be more likely to return to that brand."

Michael Schultz, senior executive vice president of Altamonte Springs, Fla.-based Adventist Health System and president and CEO of its west Florida division, told the publication freestanding EDs provide "an opportunity for people to be seen by a doctor quickly. Consumers are utilizing them, which is evidenced by the fact that we've built them, and they've come." He also noted that it is the health system's job "to educate consumers on where they need to go and for the best cost option."

However, some critics of freestanding EDs claim such facilities reduce the quality of care because they shrink the amount of practice local trauma physicians get by treating patients with complicated injuries and add to the skyrocketing price of healthcare.

John Couris, president and CEO of Tampa General Hospital, told the Tampa Bay Times hospitals are responsible for cost transparency, which may not always be the case with a freestanding ED.

"To be part of the solution, we must curb costs and improve access for consumers," he said. "It's time to be transparent about costs. People should be able to see what they're paying for. You can, usually, in an urgent care clinic, but not one of these emergency departments."

To access the full report, click here.

More articles on facilities management:
Mercyhealth unveils $505M hospital
Atrium Health installs metal detectors at select facilities
4 considerations when designing pediatric healthcare units

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2019. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Top 40 Articles from the Past 6 Months