Abilene is receiving its first stand alone ER clinic on the corner of Danville Dr. and Buffalo Gap Rd. With this new option for residents, the services it provides does differentiate from urgent care clinics.
Urgent care clinics like Affordacare see on average 50 people a day regarding non-life threatening conditions.
Affordacare's Chief Operating Officer Trace George, said, "A patient should visit an urgent care clinic and utilize them like their own doctor - say for instance, if you have a cold, if you have the flu."
Meanwhile free standing ERs can treat the same conditions as well as others that might be a little more complex, such as "heart attacks, strokes, sever head trauma, gunshot wounds," George said.
Another aspect that separates the two is that the ER clinic will be open 24/7.
According to the Urgent Care Clinic Association of America, the average cost of an urgent care visit is about $170, mostly paid by insurance, versus, a free standing ER visit is over $2,000.
Of course cost will vary, but for one Affordacare physician assistant, Trudy Smith, is still paying her bill after visiting a free standing ER while out of town.
"[They] quickly assessed me and gave me a liter of fluid, two quick blood tests, and the doctor came in and said 'yeah you're good.' And I left. And i was probably there for an hour, at the most," Smith added, "And then two weeks later I got a bill for $11,000 for generally what would cost at most, nearly at any clinic, less than a thousand and maybe even less than that."
Smith suggests when going to an stand alone ER clinic to make sure they are in network with your insurance. "Most of those places, when you go see them, they are out of network for what's your insurance, especially when you're out of town," Smith said.
In Abilene a stand alone ER clinic, Express ER, is in the works of being built. The Express ER location in Temple, Texas shows more than satisfactory reviews on their Facebook page.