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St Vincent Health in Indiana is the latest system to join a growing trend in the U.S.: opening small “footprint” hospitals—multispecialty facilities with an emergency room or an urgent care center to lower volume and offer easier access in conjunction with their main campuses. In St Vincent’s case, that amounts to four new 24-hour emergency micro-hospitals and three ambulatory care centers in the Indianapolis area. Each will have seven outpatient beds and eight in-patient beds. St Vincent is positioning the new facilities as a point of care that will be accessible to patients who need urgent care-level attention when urgent care centers are closed. Each location will be staffed by an emergency room physician and have ultrasound, x-ray, and CT scan capabilities on-site. Unlike urgent care centers, however, the cost of care will be comparable to a traditional hospital emergency room.

‘Micro-Hospitals’—Some with Urgent Care Centers—Are on the Rise