News & Press: Urgent Care News

The Doctor Will See You Now: Urgent, Emergency Care Options Growing

Tuesday, February 13, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Rivard Report
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When 2-year-old Braxton jumped off a bed last month while playing with his brother and sister and then couldn’t stand up, his parents Felecia and Nick DeBravo rushed him to an emergency clinic just a three-minute drive from their Northeast side home.

A doctor administered anti-nausea medicine, ordered an X-ray, found the toddler had a sprained ankle, and since then, Braxton has recovered fully.

With three young children, the DeBravos say Express ER has become their go-to for illnesses and injuries when they can’t wait for an appointment with their pediatrician. “We went when Rylee broke her arm, Nick got food poisoning, and when Braxton was throwing up nonstop and diagnosed with stomach flu,” Felecia DeBravo said, adding that those experiences assured her they would receive good care for her son’s latest injury and be covered by health insurance.

Such freestanding emergency centers (FECs) are popping up along busy byways in San Antonio and across the state. Open 24/7, FECs are staffed, equipped, and regulated more like a traditional hospital-based emergency room, and they charge higher rates to reflect that level of care.

Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) has licensed a total of 19 FECs in Bexar County, and 215 in the state, up from only 19 statewide in 2010, the year after the Legislature allowed them to be licensed. In fact, Bexar County – population 1.9 million – has more licensed FECs than any other Texas county except Harris – population 4.5 million – which has 34, according to a report by David Kostroun, deputy executive commissioner of HHSC’s Regulatory Services Division.

Also on the rise are what are known as urgent-care centers (UCCs). In San Antonio, there are currently 54 such centers, and more than 7,000 like them across the country.

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