Why Free Standing Emergency Centers Cannot Accept Medicare and Medicaid
When you or a loved one is suffering a medical emergency the last thing on your mind is how the bill is going to be handled. That’s why it’s important to do your research ahead of time and know of your options. The first thing to understand is that free-standing emergency centers like Golden Triangle Emergency Center cannot accept Medicare or Medicaid because the state does not allow them to, this is not a facility choice. However, patients experiencing life threatening, emergency health crises will not be turned away regardless of their ability to pay. Let’s take a look at why this is the case, what other payment options exist, and some of the major benefits offered by free-standing emergency centers.
The Difference Between Free-Standing Emergency Centers and Traditional Emergency Centers
To understand why GTEC and other free-standing emergency centers are unable to accept Medicare and Medicaid it is first necessary to understand the difference between free-standing and traditional emergency centers.
Traditional emergency centers are connected to hospitals and are directly affiliated with that adjoining hospital. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, are able to perform emergency operations, and can admit patients directly into the connected hospital as needed. Unfortunately, however, there are often very long wait times due to high traffic volume. This can also result in low doctor-and-nurse-to-patient ratios, and may reduce the amount of time medical personnel are able to spend on patients.
By contrast free-standing emergency centers are not connected to an adjoining hospital but we do have transfer agreements with all the local hospitals which allows us to direct admit the patient, bypassing their ER. Like traditional emergency rooms, free-standing emergency rooms are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and are able to treat and stabilize emergency patients. However, free-standing emergency rooms are able to treat a very wide range of medical conditions from mild injuries or ailments, up to major, life-threatening situations. They also feature much shorter wait times, and are able to provide very high quality, attention-focused care.
Why Free-Standing Emergency Centers Cannot Accept Medicare and Medicaid
Under federal law free-standing emergency centers cannot accept Medicare or Medicaid because they are not a part of a hospital system. As a result Golden Triangle Emergency Center and other free-standing emergency centers are not legally able to accept Medicare or Medicaid.
Private Insurance Is Welcome
It is important to understand the difference between Medicare and Medicaid and private health insurance. While Medicare and Medicaid are government-run programs, private insurance coverage is run by companies such BlueCross BlueShield, Aetna, and Unitedhealthcare to name just a few. Golden Triangle Emergency Center is able to accept all private health insurances and Tricare. Furthermore, Texas law requires that all fully funded private insurance plans cover claims deemed an emergency at in-network benefit rates. Again, patients experiencing life threatening, emergency health crises will not be turned away regardless of their ability to pay.
The Benefits of Care at Free-Standing Emergency Centers
A major benefit of free-standing emergency centers like Golden Triangle Emergency Center is that wait times are much shorter. For example at GTEC a visit that might only take 5 minutes can take a number of hours at a traditional emergency room. Golden Triangle Emergency Center also prides itself on being a part of the new generation of emergency care with friendly, compassionate doctors and staff who go out of their way to ensure that patients receive outstanding, attentive care.