While critics have complained that freestanding emergency rooms are overpriced and even deceptive, staff boast they provide high-quality and convenient services. But at what cost?
The Texas Association of Freestanding Emergency Rooms states that ERs have to charge more than non-emergency clinics in order to cover costs associated with state-of-the-art medical equipment, as well as the costs of having ER-trained physicians available 24/7.
State law requires ERs to clearly note they are an emergency facility. However, the Better Business Bureau reports numerous complaints from families who claim they were unaware of the distinction until receiving the bill.
Allen Warchol, a Dallas native who now lives in Los Angeles, was in town for the holidays last year when his daughter developed a rash around 11 p.m. Erring on the side of caution, he and his wife went to a nearby facility so a doctor could take a look. They had no idea the small building they were in was actually considered a full-service emergency room.