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Standalone ERs Drive Up Costs

freestanding_ER_at_JFK.jpg
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida is one of the states where hospitals are building freestanding emergency departments in upscale suburbs to beef up patient flow to the mother ship and enhance their bottom line. HCA is opening its seventh such facility in Florida this year, as Phil Galewitz of Kaiser Health News reports.

These standalone ERs charge extra hundreds of dollars for a “facility fee” that urgent-care centers unaffiliated with hospitals do not. Patients may not know the difference, and if they’re well-insured, they may not care.

Last November, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Nicole Brochu described the proliferation of these freestanding emergency departments and the effects they’re having.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.