Since Freestanding Emergency Centers are a newer phenomenon in healthcare, confusion isn’t an uncommon reaction. Here’s what you need to know.
What is a Freestanding Emergency Center?
A freestanding emergency center (or FEC) is exactly like it sounds: an independent emergency room with lifesaving personnel and technology. Each state has its own requirements for a facility to operate. For example, Texas locations must comply with certain medical training, structural, and health code regulations to operate. That’s why many FECs advertise board-certified physicians and registered nurses. Each state also has different classifications when it comes to insurance and how services are billed. In most situations, FEC billing is similar to hospital-based ERs in terms of out-of-pocket expenses.
Learn more about how FECs work with insurance.
Every FEC is able to treat major injuries such as broken bones, deep cuts, sports injuries like concussions and other head trauma, and additional serious injuries. In cases when more involved surgery is needed for trauma such as gunshot wounds, an FEC will stabilize the patient before transferring them to a larger medical facility.
How do FECs differ from Urgent Care?
There are many differences. The primary difference is the services that are offered. FECs will treat more serious injuries and illnesses, whereas Urgent Care excels at healing more common occurrences like a severe sinus infection or strep throat. Unlike FECs, Urgent Care doesn’t offer the same life-saving equipment, such as CT Scans, Ultrasounds, and X-Rays, or even intravenous capabilities.
Imagine being in a situation where a doctor needed to see inside your body to get answers in order to determine treatment but didn’t have the right tools. It would be frustrating for both patient and physician. This is not the case at Neighbors. We have on-site imaging ready for our patients 24/7.
FECs also have much lower wait times than Urgent Care and hospital-based ERs. The advantage to less waiting is getting treatment from qualified professionals faster. Likewise, less waiting means less psychological stress that often accompanies emergency situations.
Overall, if your emergency feels critical and more than just uncomfortable, then an FEC is the better choice.