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Standing room only in the ED? Freestanding concept offers solution.

The concept and reality of the freestanding emergency department, sometimes referred to as a FED or satellite ED, has been around for several decades; however, there is some renewed interest in it as an extension of the hospital’s presence in the community.  Freestanding emergency departments are outfitted to provide complete emergency care, but are physically separate from the hosting hospital, in many instances off campus.  The primary impetus for investing in a freestanding ED is reducing wait times in the hospital’s traditional – and oftentimes overcrowded – emergency department; a secondary motivator is using the satellite facility as a marketing tool to expand the hospital’s brand and capture new patients. 

While the number of hospitals operating satellite EDs is still less than 300, the number has increased steadily from around 150 in 2005, the first year a question about them was included in the AHA annual survey of hospitals.  

More information on freestanding EDs can be found here:

Ferenc, Jeff.  Are freestanding emergency departments a cure for crowding?  Health Facilities Management.  24(7):4, July 2011.   http://www.hfmmagazine.com/hfmmagazine_app/jsp/articledisplay.jsp?dcrpath=HFMMAGAZINE/Article/data/07JUL2011/0711HFM_Upfront_freestanding&domain=HFMMAGAZINE

Andrews, Michelle.  Emergency care, but not at a hospital.  Kaiser Health News.  May 31, 2011.  http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Features/Insuring-Your-Health/Michelle-Andrews-on-Hospital-ER-Alternatives.aspx

California Healthcare Foundation.  Freestanding emergency departments: do they have a role in California?  Issue Brief.  July 2009.  http://www.chcf.org/~/media/Files/PDF/F/PDF%20FreestandingEmergencyDepartmentsIB.pdf



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