Innovative Colorado Clinics Reduce Unnecessary ER Visits
(CENTENNIAL, COLO. and BELLAIRE, TEXAS) Americas only hospital-affiliated, combined emergency/urgent care centers are saving consumers and insurers time and money compared with the widespread practice of visiting freestanding emergency rooms for non-emergency reasons.
The centers are operated through a partnership of Centura Health, the largest health system in Colorado and western Kansas, and The Larkin Group of Bellaire, Texas. Preliminary data from the first three of eight planned centers (in Arvada, Golden and Frederick, Colo.) shows:
- Approximately 75 percent of patients are treated at lower-cost urgent care rates. In Colorado, having a non-emergency condition treated in an emergency room costs hundreds of dollars more (source: the Center for Improving Value in Health Care).
- Average time to see a provider is less than nine minutes. Nationwide, 73 percent of patients wait 15 minutes or more to see an emergency provider; nearly a third wait an hour or more (source: National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey).
- Average length of stay is less than 70 minutes. Nationwide, 64 percent of patients remain in an emergency department for two hours or longer (source: National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey).
"It is confusing for most consumers to know when to go to an emergency room and when they can go to a less expensive urgent care center. Making the wrong choice and going to an emergency room can be time-consuming, frightening and costly. With these new centers, Centura Health takes the guesswork away and provides a trusted, single-stop alternative said Gary S. Campbell, chief executive officer, Centura Health.
The combined centers are open 24/7/365, staffed by emergency personnel, and equipped with imaging, labs and ambulance bays. They triage patients into lower-cost urgent care treatment whenever medically appropriate.
A 2013 study in the American Journal of Managed Care found 37 percent of emergency room visits nationwide are for non-emergency conditions, which "may lead to excessive health care spending, unnecessary testing and treatment, and weaker patient-primary care provider relationships."
"As an emergency physician, it frustrated me to treat someone for a sore throat knowing they, or their insurer, would receive an emergency-level bill that the acuity of the case didnt warrant. The combined model gives the patient and medical staff an opportunity to identify the right level of care, at the right price, based solely on the level of service they receive," said Kelly J. Larkin, MD, founder, president and chief executive officer of The Larkin Group.
There are a few independent combined centers in the country, but the Centura Health facilities are the only ones affiliated with a major health system. "This benefits consumers who require care coordination or an introduction to a primary care provider," Dr. Larkin added.
"Payers were skeptical at first that we would intentionally charge less, but they soon realized were serious about optimizing health value and fulfilling our Mission, and theyre including the urgency centers in their networks," said Mark J. Carley, vice president, managed care and risk products, Centura Health.
Note To Reporters: Dr. Larkin is available for interviews and site visits can be arranged on request.
About Centura Health
Centura Health connects individuals, families and neighborhoods across Colorado and western Kansas with more than 6,000 physicians and 21,000 of the best hearts and minds in health care. Through our 17 hospitals, two senior living communities, health neighborhoods, physician practices and clinics, home care and hospice services, and Flight For Life Colorado, we are making the regions best health care accessible and affordable in every community we serve. We believe you can inspire the people you care about to live healthier lives by encouraging them to do the little things that can make a big difference. Were Centura Health, and were here for your health. For information on Centura Health or any of the facilities in our network, please visit Centura Health website.
About The Larkin Group
Established in 1998, The Larkin Group (TLG) is a collaboration of companies focused on improving the quality and delivery of emergency and urgent medical care. Through innovative strategies, TLG is committed to identifying new opportunities that facilitate top tier emergency and urgent care, while improving patient access. TLG consults nationally and offers a full network of integrated solutions including consulting services, operational management and support, staffing, billing and coding, and ambulance transportation to both hospital-affiliated and privately owned emergency departments and free-standing emergency rooms. Learn more on The Larkin Group website.
Director, strategic communications