A New Hybrid Model of Healthcare Saves Patients Money
A new hybrid model of healthcare that provides emergency room and urgent care services at the same location can help save patients both time and money. Urgent care and emergency room services treat different kinds of conditions, and convenient care centers treat both at the same location, while billing them separately. Potentially life threatening conditions like chest pains, shortness of breath and other severe health problems should always receive emergency care.
Urgent care or emergency room?
When deciding whether they need to go to urgent care or the emergency room, patients and their families or caregivers need to consider whether the condition is life threatening or not. Symptoms like abdominal or chest pains, shortness of breath or serious injuries and trauma should be seen by emergency services. Other conditions, which may cause discomfort and pain but are not life threatening, like flu or rashes, can be treated at urgent care centers.
This distinction is important because when non life threatening conditions are treated in emergency rooms, they are billed at higher rates. In fact, Truven Health Analytics reports that in over 70% of cases, patients covered by consumer-sponsored insurance are treated in the emergency department for non-emergency conditions. Many of these conditions could be treated easily or even prevented by a visit to the outpatient care department.
When to go to the emergency room
Chest pains could be a life threatening condition and the patient should be brought to the emergency services as soon as possible. While most people associate chest pains with a heart attacks, there could be other causes as well, such as problems with the lungs, muscles, ribs, or nerves. Chest pains affect the region from the neck to the upper abdomen.
Chest pains should be seen by a doctor immediately to determine the cause and treatment. Other life threatening conditions that should be taken to emergency service include abdominal pains, pediatric illnesses, lacerations and wounds, fractures, burns, dehydration and stroke.
How hybrid model billing helps patients
By combining both urgent care and emergency care at the same location, the hybrid model of healthcare saves patients both time and money. Depending on their condition, patients can be given the appropriate treatment, and billed according to the treatment received. This means an end to the expensive practice of billing non-emergency care at emergency rates.
Billing non emergency treatments at emergency rates can mean a much higher cost. A non life threatening case treated in a hospital emergency room cost on average $2,039. In an urgent care facility, the same treatment would cost much less, at around $226.
Convenient care offers both emergency and urgent care facilities at the same location. This means that life threatening conditions like chest pains can be treated by emergency services, while urgent care cases can be seen and billed separately. This saves patients both time and money, while receiving appropriate and high quality medical care.