Know Where to Go

Planning Emergency Care Options Beforehand

In the event of an emergency, quick action can save lives. That is why it is imperative that consumers know all of their emergency care options before an emergency, so they make the right decision and receive the best possible care. This includes considering the location, level of service, and expected costs of medical care.

As more and more health care options become available for patients, it is important to know their distinctions. For most health care needs, patients may choose from their primary care physician, urgent care facilities, freestanding emergency centers (FECs), and traditional hospital ERs.

How to Distinguish Between Urgent Care and FEC Facilities
  • Look for the signage: FECs are legally permitted to advertise their treatment of medical emergencies. Words like “emergency” and “ER” will be on both exterior and interior signage at every FEC facility, unlike at an urgent care facility.
  • Review billing disclosures: TAFEC members provide full disclosure that patients are being seen at an emergency room, and as such, will be billed accordingly. This includes covering the costs associated with having ER-trained physicians on-site around the clock and state-of-the-art medical equipment in every facility. Just as with a hospital-based or affiliated ER, all costs are not always immediately known/available for patient review.
  • Urgent vs. Emergency: Before you or a loved one are faced with a medical emergency, it is important to know the differences in care provided at an Urgent Care facility versus a Freestanding Emergency Center. For a list of differences, click here.
It’s Important to Remember

FEC facilities are emergency rooms, and as such, bill accordingly.

  • FECs in Texas are open 24/7, with emergency trained physicians on-staff at all times. FECs also have high-tech medical equipment and on-site, Class F pharmacies for treating all medical emergencies. Like traditional hospitals, FECs must cover the costs associated with the high quality medical services they provide.

Less wait time means more quality time spent with emergency-trained physicians.

  • Patients may be seen right away, thereby reducing the amount of time spent at an FEC facility. However, just because a patient’s visit was short in duration does not mean the quality of care received was substandard. FECs provide concierge level care in a short amount of time, so patients can get back to their daily lives.