Freestanding emergency departments expanding rapidly but access questions remain

From Science Codex:

Freestanding Emergency Departments (EDs) are a rapidly increasing source of emergency care in the United States. Physically separate from acute care hospitals but available 24/7 for emergency care, freestanding EDs offer many of the same services as traditional EDs, such as on-site advanced diagnostic imaging, laboratory testing and quick delivery of care for patients.

In a new study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine on July 12, 2016, Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers set out to describe the location and distribution of freestanding EDs and identify what populations they serve. Researchers created a national inventory of freestanding EDs, identifying 360 in 30 states as of March 31, 2015, a rapid increase from 222 in 2009. Researchers conducted ZIP code level geographic analysis in the three states with the highest number of freestanding EDs: Texas, Ohio and Colorado, and found that freestanding EDs were located in areas with population growth, higher incomes, a higher proportion of the population with private insurance, a lower proportion of the population with Medicaid, and more hospital EDs.

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