- Is the clinic open 24 hours?
- Does it have an agreement with a hospital for transport if you need it?
- Does it accept Medicare or Medicaid?
- Also, make sure it is not an urgent care clinic.
Texas begins regulating freestanding ERs
HOUSTON "Hospital ERs are overburdened," said Dr. James Jackson, who owns Clear Lake ER. "When you go there, it's a long wait, sometimes unpleasant." Clear Lake ER is a freestanding emergency clinic. Dr. Jackson's clinic boasts six patient rooms, a CT scanner, x-ray machine, a pharmacy and its own lab. "We can lab tests back in as little as a minute," Dr. Jackson said. But as more and more popped up, not all freestanding emergency rooms were the same in terms of how and when they treated patients in emergencies. That's why the state of Texas, as of this fall, is now regulating the clinics. "Good patient care is delivered in a regulated environment," said Dr. Tim Seay with the Greater Houston Emergency Physicians. Seay is a physician who owns a freestanding emergency clinic. He was part of the move to regulate the burgeoning industry so that people in need of emergency care know what to expect when they need help. "The regulations address every single aspect of the building, of the floors, of the walls, of the sanitation, infection control, clinical services, what kind of doctors are there," Dr. Seay said. Here's what you should know before you're in the middle of an emergency:
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