Freestanding ERs a better option for less serious emergencies

Freestanding ERs a better option for less serious emergencies

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

During flu season emergency rooms were backed up and wait times were outrageous.

It is a scenario many experience everyday when trying to go to the ER. 

"The problem with any emergency department in the country is there's always wait times," said Dr. Chamales. "We like to move patients through as quickly as possible. There are often exigent factors that we can't control, how many patients are in the hospital, how many patients come in on a certain day."

Dr. Chamales, the Medical Director of Covenant's Emergency Department said there is a much better way.

"These community ER's have taken a great burden off of us by shifting some of the patient volume over here," the doctor said.

These community or freestanding ER's have most of the capabilities of an actual emergency room.

"90-95 percent of the patients that come through here don't need to be admitted to the hospital and can be taken care of here. Everything is done and they're on their way."

While these facilities are supposed to be for less serious emergencies Dr. Chamales said any situation can be handled.

"Our preference would be if it's a major trauma we would like you to go through the EMS service if at all possible. Obviously if one of those ends up here for some reason our guys can stabilize it very quickly and we work together with our EMS partners as well with our guys to get you to the main departments as quickly as possible."

He said he cautions against going to these freestanding ER's for small issues like a cold. You would best be served by your primary care physician or an urgent care.

"I like to think of this as a good in between, between the big ER, you know we're, you know despite our best efforts you're probably going to have to wait a little bit where as here the vast majority of the time wait times are minimal."

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