Insurers and other parties who hold a stake in the economics of urgent care tend to respond to cold hard data. Here’s some: Seven of the top 10 reasons patients sought care in a freestanding emergency room in 2014 could have been treated safely—but much less expensively—in an urgent care center, according to a new study by the Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC). Take sore throat, which topped the list of reasons patients went to a freestanding ER: Using Colorado as an example, patients treated for one in the freestanding ER paid more than six times as much as they would have in an urgent care center ($650 vs $100 on average, respectively). The biggest disparity in cost occurred for patients treated for bronchitis or urinary tract infections ($980 vs $100 for each, according to the study). Bear this in mind—and have data in hand—when it’s time to negotiate new contracts or court new occupational medicine customers.
More Data Show Freestanding ERs Cost More Than Urgent Care