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Hospital-affiliated combined ED, urgent care centers reduce unnecessary emergency visits

Centennial, Colo.-based Centura Health worked with The Larkin Group in Bellaire, Texas, to open three new hospital-affiliated, combined emergency/urgent care centers and found the new centers reduce unnecessary visits to the ED and save money.

The centers — located in Arvada, Golden and Frederick, Colo. — are open 24/7/365. They are staffed by emergency medical clinicians and have imaging, labs and ambulance bays. Staff triage patients to urgent care when appropriate, instead of automatically sending them to the ED.

"It is confusing for most consumers to know when to go to an emergency room and when they can go to a less expensive urgent care center," said Gary Campbell, CEO of Centura Health. "Making the wrong choice and going to an emergency room can be time-consuming, frightening and costly. With these new centers, Centura Health takes the guesswork away and provides a trusted, single-stop alternative."

According to Centura Health, the three centers are the only combined centers affiliated with a major health system in the U.S.

So far, data from the three centers show:

  • About 75 percent of patients are treated at urgent care rates
  • Average time to see an emergency care provider is less than nine minutes
  • Average length of stay is less than 70 minutes

"The combined model gives the patient and medical staff an opportunity to identify the right level of care, at the right place, based solely on the level of service they receive," said Kelly Larkin, MD, founder, president and CEO of The Larkin Group.

Centura Health plans to open five more such centers, for a total of eight.

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