There is little value in comparing the costs of care delivered at freestanding emergency departments and urgent care centers because they are entirely different care venues that don't provide the same level of care, he says.
The results of study that compares costs to consumers at freestanding emergency departments and urgent care centers for seemingly comparable medical services have been skewed by the news media and partisans in the debate, says a co-author of the study.
Referring to the study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine, Cedric Dark, MD, says "I stand behind the science of the study 100%." Dark is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
"Unfortunately, many in the press and in the political world, seem to want to extrapolate our findings inappropriately and thus contribute to the false undervaluing of emergency care and emergency physicians," he says.
Dark says conclusions about the study reflect how readers choose to interpret the data.
"Some people will interpret it with an economic slant. Some people will interpret it with a patient-provider perspective. I like to make the comparison mostly to the freestanding emergency department versus hospital-based emergency department and demonstrate that those costs are roughly equivalent," he says.
Dark, who practices in both FEDs and HBEDs, says there is little value in comparing the costs of care delivered at FEDs and urgent care centers because they are entirely different care venues that don't provide the same level of care.
John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders.