The Pitfalls of Free Standing Emergency Rooms

By Ken Cohen, MD, FACP 
Chief Medical Officer

We have all become familiar with the fact that our healthcare system costs several times more than those of other advanced nations and yet provides us with inferior health outcomes. A great sadness that contributes to this truth is the profit motive in healthcare. Nowhere in medicine is the example clearer than in the proliferation of free standing emergency rooms. These are typically built in affluent neighborhoods, and often in the “backyard” of competing hospital systems. They look similar to urgent care centers by virtue of their appearance and location, yet patients receive bills in the thousands of dollars when accessing these facilities, most often for simple urgent care problems. Unfortunately, the prices charged by these facilities are not transparent….

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