Freestanding emergency departments are associated with higher medicare costs: A longitudinal panel data analysis

Academic Article


  • The number of freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs) is growing rapidly in the United States. Proponents of FSEDs cite potential benefits of FSEDs including lower waiting time and reduced travel distance for needed emergency care. Others have suggested that increased access to emergency care may lead to an increase in the use of emergency departments for lower acuity patients, resulting in higher overall health care expenditures. We examined the relationship between the number of FSEDs in each county and total Medicare expenditures between 2003 and 2009. Our results show that each additional FSED in a county is associated with an expenditure increase of $55 per Medicare beneficiary. This finding suggests that even if FSEDs may increase access to emergency care, it may result in higher overall Medicare expenditures.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Patidar N; Weech-Maldonado R; O’connor SJ; Sen B; Trimm JM; Camargo CA
  • Volume

  • 54