Frequently Asked Questions
What is a free-standing emergency room?
As of September 2010, the State of Texas requires that all free-standing emergency rooms have a license to operate. A licensed, free-standing emergency room is a facility that is opened to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the treatment of major and minor emergent medical conditions. The free-standing emergency room must be staffed with experienced emergency medicine physicians onsite 24 hours a day and registered nurses (RN). Additionally, a licensed, free-standing emergency room has the same diagnostic equipment that a hospital-based ER does. In other words, when you visit a licensed, free-standing emergency room, you’ll receive all the same care and services that you would at a traditional hospital-based emergency room, the facility just isn’t located on a hospital campus.
When should I visit a licensed, free-standing emergency room?
As a licensed, free-standing emergency room, Texas Emergency Care Center is different than an urgent care facility. Urgent care centers aren’t licensed, are not required to be open 24 hours a day and are not able to treat emergent medical conditions. As a rule of thumb, you could consider an urgent care center as a regular doctors office with extended hours.
If you have a medical condition that requires immediate attention, whether it’s minor or major, you can go to an emergency room. When you make the decision about what ER to visit, keep in mind that the national average wait time for hospital-based emergency rooms is fifty five minutes*. As a licensed, free-standing emergency room, Texas Emergency Care Center is capable of treating all the same conditions as a hospital-based emergency room, and the average wait time at our facilities is less than 20 minutes.
Examples of medical conditions we treat:
- Sports injuries
- Heart attacks
- Respiratory distress
- Head injuries
- Abdominal pain
- Orthopedic injuries (fractures)
*Based on 2012 CDC Report
What if I have to be admitted to the hospital?
Texas Emergency Care Center has transfer agreements in place with multiple hospitals in the greater Houston metropolitan area. We’ll coordinate admittance to a hospital should further monitoring or care be required as part of your treatment. When a transfer is required for further care, or monitoring, you will not incur a second emergency room visit. You’ll be admitted directly to your room at the hospital or taken straight to the cath-lab or surgical suite.
What am I required to pay?
At the time of service, you will be required to pay your emergency room co-pay as designated by your insurance plan, and you’ll have the opportunity to pay the portion of your estimated deductible as verified by your insurance provider. As with any visit to an emergency room, upon receipt of your explanation of benefits (EOB) from the insurance carrier, you may also be required to pay your remaining deductible or any co-insurance that is determined to be patient responsibility by your contract with your insurance provider.
What if I don’t have insurance?
We have the responsibility to treat any patient that has been determined to have a medical emergency regardless of their ability to pay at the time of the visit. We work with all of our patients on flexible payment options and have a Rapid Pay Program for patients who do not have health insurance and prefer to pay on a cash basis.
What will this cost?
The cost to visit Texas Emergency Care Center will be comparable to visiting a hospital emergency room for the same presenting symptoms, treatment, and diagnosis.
Can I get a cost prior to my visit?
Federal EMTALA laws prevent us from discussing financial information with you prior to being evaluated to determine if you have a medical emergency. This law is meant to protect you and ensure that you receive immediate and proper care regardless of your individual financial situation.
Do you take my insurance?
We will bill all private insurance plans, including but not limited to Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, Multiplan, and United Healthcare for your emergency benefits based on your level of care. At this time, we are not a Medicaid, Medicare or Tricare provider.
What if you are not in my insurance network?
Texas law requires that insurance plans pay out-of-network emergency visits at the same benefit level as if the patient had gone to an in-network emergency room. This is to allow the patient to go to the nearest emergency room and prevent valuable time from being wasted searching for in-network facilities and physicians.