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Emergency Medicine: Hospital Based and Stand-Alone Facilities

Dr. Bruce Storms, Emergency Medicine

Within the last four years, stand-alone ERs have doubled to more than 400 facilities nationwide. Although the convenience is an added benefit to patients, there are also many considerations when choosing where to obtain emergency care.

Dr. Bruce Storms said, "If you have a serious medical emergency, you should report straight to a hospital based ER as opposed to a standalone ER. Some examples would be if you have abdominal pain, because it could mean needing an appendectomy (surgical removal of the appendix). Likewise, heart attacks should be treated at a full service ER as well. Ultimately, if a patient at a standalone ER needs surgery or to be admitted to a hospital, then the patient will incur additional costs and delays since they will have to be transported to a hospital based facility."

Dr. Storms also hopes patients will understand that Electronic Medical Records (EMR) do not travel between all facilities. "If a Chickasha or surrounding area resident has established a Five Oaks Medical Group physician as their Primary Care Provider, then if they report to the ER we will have access to their medical records to better serve them. Unfortunately, if they go to an ER that isn't within their established health system, then the electronic medical records have no way of following them at this time." explained Dr. Storms.

Additionally, patients may mistake these stand-alone ERs for a Family Practice clinic or Urgent Care. Although this may seem like a quick and easy way to be seen for all of your family medicine needs, there are significant price differences. ERs have facility fees added onto the bill due to the high costs of providing healthcare 24/7. While the stand-alone ERs charge insurers higher amounts per patient than do an urgent care center or doctor's office, patients use them for routine care that could be provided in less costly settings. Dr. Storms said, "Stand-alone ERs definitely have their place, but it is very important to recognize the differences."

Grady Memorial Hospital's Emergency Department is open 24/7/365 and fully equipped offering access to Inpatient Services, Operating Room, Laboratory, Clinic, and Radiology which includes X-Ray, MRI and CAT scan. Grady Memorial Hospital services can be reached by calling 405-224-2300.