Urgent care veterans—and any patient whose been hit with a surprise bill—know that the cost of urgent care is far lower than the cost of a trip to a freestanding emergency room, even when the resultant diagnoses are the same. And yet, the vast majority of visits to freestanding EDs are related to nonemergent complaints that could be safely managed in an urgent care center at a fraction of the cost. UnitedHealthGroup just added more proof in the form of a study that found the same level and quality of care costs 22 times more at a freestanding emergency room in Texas than at an urgent care center there ($3,217 vs $167), on average. The study highlights the importance of price transparency in urgent care; if patients know how little it costs to go to an urgent care center compared with freestanding or hospital EDs, they’re likely to be more amenable to seek care there. If your signage and website don’t offer a sense of the consumer-friendly pricing, consider revamping them to highlight the benefits.

Fresh Data Show Freestanding ERs Cost 22 Times More Than Urgent Care
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