Are freestanding emergency rooms following the money?

From Reuters:

When researchers took a look at the three states with the greatest number of these freestanding EDs – Texas, Ohio and Colorado – they found the facilities located in areas with population growth, higher incomes, a higher proportion of people with private health insurance and a lower proportion of residents with Medicaid, the U.S. health insurance program for the poor.

“Freestanding EDs have the potential to increase access in several ways: they can be located in areas without emergency care, like a rural area, or they can open in an area without adequate emergency care, for example, where hospital EDs have chronic long waiting times,” said lead study author Dr. Jeremiah Schuur of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“Overall, in the three states we examined in this study, freestanding EDs are not primarily locating to address the regional access to care – rather they are more likely locating in areas where the population has good payment sources, which are also more likely to have more sites of health care like doctors’ offices and hospital EDs,” Schuur added by email.

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