Draffin & Tucker partner Charles Horne was quoted in the article, “Freestanding ERs Target Suburbs, Rural Panel Told,” that ran Aug. 28, 2014, in Georgia Health News. The article discusses the proposal of freestanding emergency departments (ED) as a possible solution for struggling rural hospitals in Georgia to remain operational and help patients in need.

Horne points out that this solution is actually completely different than the trend of freestanding EDs nationwide. He said that, nationwide, freestanding EDs are increasing in suburban areas and targeting high-income patients with private insurance. He said the emphasis is typically on patient convenience, not need.

The main issue with freestanding EDs as they are being proposed in Georgia falls on the lack of reimbursement opportunities. Freestanding EDs would not be able to bill Medicare and Medicaid at the current hospital rates, but would be required to bill at lower rates as a hospital outpatient clinic.

Horne said that most freestanding EDs nationwide are within 15 to 20 miles of a full-service hospital and are hospital-affiliated. While these facilities have been increasing in other states across the Southeast, such as Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina, they may not be the best answer to financially struggling rural hospitals.

To read the full story, please click here.

For more information, please contact Charles Horne at (229) 883-7878 or chorne@draffin-tucker.com.