Patients can pay a high price for ER convenience
Medical entrepreneurs are remaking the emergency room experience. They're pulling the emergency room out of the hospital and planting it in the strip mall. It's called a "free-standing ER," and some 400 of them have opened across the country in the past four years. The trend is hot around Houston, where there are already 41 free-standing ERs and 10 more in the works. "I think these emergency medical centers are springing up like Texas wildflowers in the springtime," says Vivian Ho, a health economist at Rice University in Houston. "It's really amazing."
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