Health Care Public Health Thought Leadership

Be Health Care Aware

Couple looking at laptop togeter on couch.

Freestanding Emergency Departments raise the question of potentially increasing costs for patients.

Be Health Care Aware

Choosing the right place to get the care you need can be confusing. AdventHealth wants you to be Health Care Aware so you can get the right care, at the right time and place. Because we believe the purpose of health care is to meet the health needs of people, not to grow profits.

Bringing better health care to the communities of Western North Carolina is vital to meet the needs of growing communities. However, the promise of a new facility doesn’t necessarily mean access to the right care at the right time.

Buncombe County needs true health care choice and competition. The campaign to bring a Freestanding Emergency Department (FSER) to Buncombe County is not the solution. As health care consumers, you must Be Health Care Aware.

Take a look at some of the facts regarding facilities like the one proposed for Buncombe County and the impact on our community and patients:

COST: Freestanding Emergency Departments have the potential to increase costs for patients and employers.

  • They are significantly more expensive than Urgent Care Centers for patients.
  • Historically, health care and insurance costs increase because people use the FSER more like an urgent care but are charged higher ED care rates.
  • Often considered out of network for some insurance carriers, FSERs can lead to higher out-of-pocket costs for patients.
  • Patients with more serious emergency needs cannot be admitted to an FSER. If they need to be admitted, they will need an ambulance ride to the hospital with all of the associated costs and logistics of that transport.

CONFUSION: Freestanding Emergency Departments do not operate like lower-cost urgent care centers or traditional walk-in clinics.

  • FSERs are not the same as Urgent Care Centers or Traditional Walk-in Clinics. They operate from the emergency department pay level, which is traditionally higher than urgent care centers and walk-in clinics.
  • Patients with acute care needs will have to be transferred to the main hospital to receive the higher level of care needed and/or be admitted.
  • If you have an employer-funded health insurance plan, you may see direct impacts on costs.
  • When employees and their families use the FSER like an Urgent Care, the Employer will receive a higher bill for the care.

CONTROL: The goal is control – not accessing convenience – when a hospital with a 90% inpatient market share proposes a freestanding emergency department.

  • The ultimate goal is to capture market share from competitors and prevent competition.
  • In markets like Buncombe County, an FSER does not create true choice or access but is simply another way to get people to the owner’s existing hospital.
  • FSERs are historically located in areas with higher incomes and better payer mixes and are designed to expand a hospital’s reach into a competitor’s service area.

When you are experiencing health care needs, choosing the right type of care center can be confusing and lead to higher costs. It is important to know your health care options and when to utilize them.

Graph showing health care costs at Doctors Office, Urgent Care and Emergency Room.
*This is a sample list of services and is not all-inclusive.

Please do not ignore a health emergency. If a situation seems life-threatening, call 911 right away.

Be Health Care Aware and Make Your Voice Heard.

Share your concerns about the proposed Freestanding Emergency Department (FSER) in Enka/Candler at the public hearing.

Freestanding Emergency Department CON Public Hearing
Monday, June 19 | 9:30 am
Ferguson Auditorium, AB-Tech
340 Victoria Road, Asheville

For non-emergency care, call your physician’s office or the AdventHealth Patient Resource Team at Call855-774-LIFE (5433).
Many of our clinics and providers offer extended hours, same-day or next-day appointments and virtual visits.

Visit or call Call855-774-LIFE (5433) to learn more.

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