In the last two years, dozens of FSEDs have opened in Colorado, most often located in suburban areas relatively close to urgent care and in-hospital emergency departments. Due to their stand-alone buildings and similarity to non-emergency options, it is possible for consumers to mistake an FSED for an urgent care center.
According to data available in the CO APCD, of the top ten reasons Coloradans used an FSED in 2014, seven were non-life threatening. Sore throats, bronchitis and finger wounds were among the top 10 common conditions seen at FSEDs. For all seven non-life threatening conditions, prices were $400 to over $800 more for treatment at an emergency facility (both FSED and in-hospital ED combined) than at an urgent care center. Receiving care for a urinary tract infection or bronchitis can cost nine times more at an emergency facility than at an urgent care center.
"The current health care delivery landscape can be confusing, and we need to educate consumers that the decisions they make about where to receive care can have significant financial implications," said Ana English, CIVHC CEO and President. "Data in the CO APCD allows us to take a closer look at health care costs and utilization so as a state we can focus on low hanging fruit that can reduce costs and provide Coloradans with the best care possible."
In the last two Colorado legislative sessions, legislators introduced bills intending to increase consumer transparency regarding FSEDs. For numerous reasons, the bills did not pass. However, as plans are in place to build more FSEDs across the state, educating Coloradans remains critical with or without legislation.
For more information, visit CIVHC's website.
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SOURCE Center for Improving Value in Health Care (CIVHC)