Understanding the Free-Standing Emergency Rooms

When afflicted with an illness or injury, it may be challenging to know where to seek care. With so many choices for treatment, including emergency rooms and urgent care centers, knowing where to go during a medical emergency will save valuable time, have the best possible result, and ensure you get the best value for your service provided.

A hospital-owned or a free-standing emergency room is your best choice when you need a facility that is open 24/7 and provides a higher standard of service to cope with an emergency for various reasons. These emergency rooms may be stand-alone or housed inside a hospital. Even though free-standing emergency centers (FECs) are structurally distinct from hospitals, they can provide emergency care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

What is the Free-Standing Emergency Room?

A free-standing emergency room offers emergency health care beyond a regular campus of the hospital. It is not connected to or even in the locality of a hospital. Notice that an ER is not identical to an urgent care center. A stand-alone ER can treat any condition that an ER in a hospital might have. An urgent treatment will only deal with minor injuries and diseases.

Free emergency centers have a qualified ER doctor and registered nurse 24/7, just like a hospital emergency room. Almost all self-employed clinical emergency centers operate in an ER focused hospital, and many continue to divide the time between the hospital ER and the free-standing center.

Like hospital ERs, free stand emergency centers must be open 24 hours/7, 365 days annually. Urgent clinics have restricted hours and can require pre-visit appointments.

How Does the Free-standing Emergency Rooms work?

Emergency care facilities are offered by Free-standing emergency rooms and services such as medical imaging, laboratory services and doctor visits. The majority of patients are walk-ins instead of ambulances.

Free Standing Emergency Rooms are becoming more popular in the United States in healthcare centers that provide emergency treatment without being physically connected to a hospital. Many people suggest these facilities will alleviate tension in our present emergency system and offer services to people with restricted access to conventional EDs in hospitals.

We have examined the latest literature on standby EDs to determine whether they achieve those objectives. Free-standing emergency rooms are transforming the environment of emergency care in the United States and are being considered globally.

Unlike a conventional hospital-based ED, these facilities offer emergency services to patients while physically separate from a hospital. Because of their continued growth, FSERs have attracted increased research interest and regulatory scrutiny.

These facilities can help to alleviate the strain on the country’s emergency care system. The FSER should provide stabilizing treatment within the facility’s capabilities and have a plan to arrange an effective move to the definitive care facility, if possible, for the patient to obtain necessary stabilizing treatment regardless of the patient’s capacity to pay or mode of payment.

For quality improvement, medical leadership, medical directors, credentialing, and effective policies for referrals to primary and specialist doctors for aftercare, Free-standing emergency rooms should meet the exact requirements as hospital-based ED. Value-based compensation should take into account the inherent disparities between Free-standing emergency rooms and hospital-based EDs.

The availability of free-standing emergency rooms is a real blessing in disguise. There will be no more long drives, long waits, or unnecessary hospitalizations. You can receive top-notch medical treatment in a convenient, well-maintained environment.

If you are unsure whether a FSERs will be a good match for you and your family, contact the facility in your area and inquire about their services. Better still, why not stop in and speak with a member of their staff before touring the facility? Seeing is both believing and persuading.

Medical Billing for Free-Standing Emergency Rooms

There is no major difference between the medical billing for a hospital emergency department and a free-standing emergency room because all the Institutional services are billed using UB-04 and physician services are billed using CMS-1500. Although, Medicare has temporarily allowed free-standing emergency rooms to bill Medicare during PHE due to COVID but normally Medicare doesn’t recognize free-standing emergency rooms so most of the patients used to have commercial insurance coverage when they decide to visit a FSER.

Since FSERs normally choose to remain out of network with commercial payers so out of network negotiations are the most tricky part of Free Standing Emergency Room billing.

Interested to know how RMB can help with Free-Standing Emergency Room billing and out of network negotiations? Visit Right Medical Billing.

Written by: Kaynat Ishfaq

Author has been writing from last 4 years in Healthcare and medical billing field.

Other contributors:

Ayesha Kanwal

Marketing Specialist, SEO Specialist, Content Writer and Social Media Marketing Expert

Shahzad H

Revenue Cycle Management Consultant, Medical Billing & AR Audit, Free Standing Emergency Rooms, Micro Hospitals, Compliance, OON Negotiations, Digital Marketing


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