Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

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Abraham
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Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#1

Post by Abraham » Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:52 am

In the mail, I recently received an advertisement from Memorial Hermann Convenient Care Center that offers many services, but as far as I can tell it's not a hospital or attached to one. I think it's close to the Cabelas off 45 across kinda/sorta across from Victory Lakes.

It appears to be a stand alone facility.

I've been warned that stand alone ER's have a reputation for gouging costs comparative to what you'd be charged for the same service at a hospital.

Any here know what to avoid or not in the way of ER's in the League City area all way to Alvin?

Thanks!


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Re: Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#2

Post by WTR » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:02 am

I have had good service from them.


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Re: Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#3

Post by Waco1959 » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:38 am

I’ve used one in Waco a few times due to cardiac problems and be pleased because:

Longest time from coming in the door in seeing a doc and getting a ecg started was 10 minutes

The doctors are all trained ER docs

The cost has been much cheaper than the local hospitals


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Re: Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#4

Post by Sport Coach » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:43 am

Be sure to check your co-pay and call your insurance and/or the facility to better anticipate any costs. The stand alone locations can be very pricey but as above, it may be worth it to avoid long wait times.
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Re: Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#5

Post by Abraham » Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:23 am

Thanks all for your very valuable input.

Any more from other's stand alone ER experience?

Thanks again.


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Re: Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#6

Post by Abraham » Sun Oct 07, 2018 12:13 pm

Would I be accurate in speculating the proliferation of stand alone ER's is due 'primarily' to ever increasing foreign nationals seeking medical care at ER's all over the land thus pushing wait times for treatment of citizens thus being subjected to absurdly long waits...?

Or is it that obama-care has decreased the number of those with health care coverage severely as obama-care is (paradoxically) making medical coverage 'un-affordable' so even citizens are seeking medical care at ER's?

A few years ago, my wife needed immediate ER medical treatment. I rushed her to the ER (at that time St. John's hospital ER) and it was filled with non-English speakers and what looked like either scraggy druggies or drunks. Yuck!

So at a glance, I'm guessing we who pay our bills, obey the law, and in general lead relatively blameless lives are being shoved into paying higher costs at stand alone ER's?

Am I way off the mark or not?

What say you?

Thanks!

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Snowflake calls curmudgeon black?

#7

Post by warnmar10 » Sun Oct 07, 2018 2:09 pm

spectre wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:47 pm
Dear Special Snowflake,

I would say I'm sorry I triggered you by not coddling your racist rambling, except for the fact that I'm not sorry.
Point of order: Where in this paragraph do you find racism?
Would I be accurate in speculating the proliferation of stand alone ER's is due 'primarily' to ever increasing foreign nationals seeking medical care at ER's all over the land thus pushing wait times for treatment of citizens thus being subjected to absurdly long waits...?

Or is it that obama-care has decreased the number of those with health care coverage severely as obama-care is (paradoxically) making medical coverage 'un-affordable' so even citizens are seeking medical care at ER's?

A few years ago, my wife needed immediate ER medical treatment. I rushed her to the ER (at that time St. John's hospital ER) and it was filled with non-English speakers and what looked like either scraggy druggies or drunks. Yuck!

So at a glance, I'm guessing we who pay our bills, obey the law, and in general lead relatively blameless lives are being shoved into paying higher costs at stand alone ER's?

Am I way off the mark or not?

What say you?

Thanks!
Image


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Re: Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#8

Post by ninjabread » Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:23 pm

Sport Coach wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:43 am
Be sure to check your co-pay and call your insurance and/or the facility to better anticipate any costs. The stand alone locations can be very pricey but as above, it may be worth it to avoid long wait times.
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Re: Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#9

Post by rotor » Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:26 pm

Although many advertise that all insurance is accepted you would be smart to precheck with your insurance company to make sure that they will pay the bill if the freestanding center is used. Blue Cross on my wife's plan has us paying the bill for almost all ER hospital visits unless it is a true emergency (prove that). I don't think they cover freestanding units. Next, will the freestanding unit accept Medicare? Probably not. Medicare Advantage is not Medicare so if you are on one of these plans really check to see if you can use a freestanding unit. I would bet NOT.
Do they make you sign a balance billing form? The bill is $5,000, insurance pays $300 and you owe $4,700. That's balance billing.

Are the doctors good? In my city, the same doctors working the hospital ER work the freestanding unit (which they own) so they are good. Finally, and I don't know if this is the case, but there may be multiple type of bills and this includes any ER, free standing or not. There is a lab bill, an X-ray bill, a facility fee, a pharmacy fee, a supply fee, multiple physician fees (ER doc, radiologist, pathologist, who knows what else) and you need to know if their fees are covered by the insurance. Very complicated. For example, all of the neurosurgeons in my town are not in network for my wife's Blue Cross. We pay cash when we see one.

Don't assume the "all insurance accepted" means that you are home free.

Edit: I should have said neurologists instead of neurosurgeons. We pay cash to see a neurologist. Also, Blue Cross web site says the neurologists WILL accept her insurance but when you call they say NO and they can not get Blue Cross to remove them from the web site. So, don't just trust that the web site is correct about who is in network.
Last edited by rotor on Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#10

Post by Weg » Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:52 pm

I took my wife to one about a year back when she sustained a severe knife cut to her hand. They did not accept my insurance, but there was 0 wait, I had no problem paying cash. All in all, she received several stitches , and a checkup visit for 500 if I remember right. I’d do it again to avoid waiting at a AustinER that my insurance is good at.


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We prefer the stand alone here

#11

Post by flechero » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:11 pm

Depends on the owner- many are independent Dr. owned facilities and some are chains. Our local one is owned by a group of Dr's from the area...

Short of a need for a trauma center or an active heart attack, I'll take "Premier ER/Urgent Care" over scott & white any day of the week.

We've used Premier ER/Urgent care in Temple several times... in fact we now prefer it for any non scheduled Dr. visit. The copay for urgent care is actually much less than scott & white's ER (even for the same treatments we would have had to go to the ER for) but the care seems to be much better and the waits, much much shorter. ANd no billing issues. Every time we have been to the ER we've spent months fighting the billing dept's for corrections. (billed for things we didn't get or use- x-rays not taken and meds never given) At premier, we write a single check for a copay on arrival and that's it.


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Re: Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#12

Post by srothstein » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:30 pm

rotor wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 3:26 pm
Don't assume the "all insurance accepted" means that you are home free.
My insurance at work has put out a notice that this is the problem and the misleading statement in stand-alone ERs. They do accept your insurance but the stand-alone is usually not in the insurance network. There is no financial incentive for them to join the network since people will worry about the insurance later if it is an emergency or even urgent. The hospitals tend to join insurance networks because of the other care they offer and people having more choice in it (even in the hospital stay, but a lot of the tests they offer can be done outside the hospital too.) I understand that you need to check the doctors separately, along with the labs and other independent contractors tot eh ER (anesthesiologists, x-rays, etc.)

I have not used a stand-alone ER yet. My local hospital is so rural that there is almost never a real wait anyway, and they can stabilize you before transfer to a better hospital if you need it. If something happened to me where I needed an ER at work, I am about three blocks from the big county hospital where there is a wait for the ER but the worse your condition, the higher priority you are for service.

I would probably consider a free-standing ER if there were one in my area and if I had checked prior to use to make sure that both the doctors and unit itself were in network for coverage.
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Re: Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#13

Post by mrvmax » Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:30 pm

I’ve used the Memorial Herman in Friendswood a couple times and liked it much better than the Clear Lake hospital ER.

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Re: Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#14

Post by JustSomeOldGuy » Sun Oct 07, 2018 5:58 pm

srothstein wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:30 pm
They do accept your insurance but the stand-alone is usually not in the insurance network.
This is the situation for me also. We have two separate doc-in-the-box free standing ER chains here. My employer is self-insured and the plan is administered by United Healthcare. Neither ER chain is "in network", but both will HAPPILY bill your insurance, and then you for the lions share that doesn't get paid.
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Re: Stand Alone ER's / Rip Offs or ...?

#15

Post by C-dub » Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:13 pm

In some cases I suppose it depends on who is operating the stand alone ER. I only have experience with two such places and both are operated by larger hospitals to better serve the community where the larger hospitals are either several miles away or for non-trauma type emergencies. What comes to mind is for stuff like stitches, but I'm sure there are also other things. I'm a Medical Technologist and work in a hospital laboratory that supports the laboratory testing done by the small lab in one of those ERs. They are very limited in what they can do. They do a LOT of strep. and flu testing that still seems to flood our main ER during the season. I would say that I wouldn't be able to imagine how many more folks would be clogging up our ER just to find out if they have the flu or strep. throat, but I can check our satellite lab's test load and find out. It's amazing how many people clog up an ER because they don't know any better or don't have a regular doctor they can go to or don't have any insurance and come to a hospital ER because they won't be turned away.

So, while some of them might be rip-offs, I know the costs for ER like I described above are going to be exactly the same. For a doc-in-the-box type ER that is not associated (has the same name) as a larger hospital I don't know. Maybe?
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