Despite a growing stack of negative press clippings and legislative scrutiny, freestanding emergency rooms continue to take in patients off the street and charge them far more than they’d pay for the same services at urgent care centers. New data from four institutions in Texas reveal that mean out-of-pocket spending jumped 66% between 2012 and 2015 in the Lone Star State. Out-of-pocket costs grew by 38.5% at hospital-based EDs and by just 8.9% at urgent care centers over the same period. The study, published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, considered more than 16 million Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas claims emanating from Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, and the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. The article also points out there was 75% overlap in the 20 most common diagnoses at freestanding EDs and at urgent care centers.
New Data Show Same Diagnoses, Higher Costs at Freestanding EDs vs Urgent Care