New Freestanding or Extended ER - Know Before You Go
In an EMERGENCY - go to a hospital-based Emergency Room (ER) like St. Luke's ER to receive lifesaving care. Hospital-based emergency rooms are different than freestanding or extended ERs –as hospitals are equipped with heart catheterization labs to open blocked heart arteries faster and operating rooms for traumas that shouldn't wait.
Individuals who choose a freestanding or extended ER may have to be transferred by an ambulance to a hospital-based ER in order to receive a higher level of care to treat a more serious or complex issue like a heart attack or stroke. The Hiawatha ER may say it will pay for an ambulance transfer if one is needed for a higher level of care, but know they will only pay if you choose their hospital and not St. Luke's, which is the only hospital in Cedar Rapids that's been honored six times as a top cardiovascular hospital.
Freestanding or extension ER costs similar to hospital-based ERs
A standalone ER may look like an urgent care clinic, but it's important to know choosing a freestanding ER for care - may cost about the same as a hospital-based ER visit even though it is not physically attached to a hospital.
Individuals with minor illnesses or injuries should know their primary care provider or an urgent care clinic is the most appropriate place to visit. If your health care provider isn't available, UnityPoint Health has several urgent care clinics for minor illnesses and injuries. Sometimes it's hard to know where to go for care – use this link to help you decide and educate yourself on appropriate care.
UnityPoint Clinic Express Peck's Landing is conveniently located in Hiawatha on the corner of Blairs Ferry Rd. and Edgewood Rd. – less than one mile from a standalone ER and only about six miles away from two hospital-based ERs in downtown Cedar Rapids. Both hospital ERs are able to accommodate the healthcare needs of the community. Our urgent care clinics have online check-in aimed at reducing wait times and virtual waiting rooms to keep you safe during COVID-19.
UnityPoint Health believes knowing and educating our community on the most appropriate place to receive care will help reduce health care costs for all.
Know appropriate health care options
Multiple studies, including studies from Annals of Emergency Medicine August 2019 and United Healthcare have shown that freestanding or extension EDs cost several times more than a doctor's office visit or even a trip to an urgent care. Also, according to the United Health Care Study, if patients were more informed about lower cost options for health care, $800 million could be saved annually. Shifting care from freestanding EDs to physician offices and urgent cares would save over $3,000 per visit.
Some additional considerations about freestanding or extension ERs:
- Many patients may not initially distinguish between a freestanding ER and an urgent care and be surprised after receiving a freestanding ER bill.
- Patients need to be certain this Freestanding ER will take their insurance as not all insurances may be accepted.
- Studies found wait times and treatment times were similar between freestanding ERs and hospital-based ERs.
Reducing healthcare spending helps everyone
UnityPoint Health is committed to reducing health care expenses and delivering health care in the most appropriate setting. We continue to invest in primary and pediatric care expansion, which offers same day appointments, and night and weekend hours because it's the relationship with your primary care provider where care should begin unless you have a true emergency such as a heart attack, stroke, trauma or when your doctor's office is closed.
UnityPoint Health – Cedar Rapids is also investing in care options that are more convenient for patients such as our new Urgent Care Express and virtual care to help reduce health care costs, not increase them.
UnityPoint Health encourages consumers to know before they
go and always choose the most appropriate care.