“Patients like Lisa Boncler love how accessible they are. She came to the Texas Emergency Center in the affluent Houston suburb of Atascocita to get stitches on her scalp after she gashed her head on a gate handle.
“This is not the first time I’ve been in here,” says Boncler, who has a choice of six different ERs, two based at hospitals and four free-standing, like Texas Emergency Center. “It’s always fast [and] I don’t feel like I’m picking up 1,000 germs.”
The waiting room, furnished with brown leather armchairs and a coffee station worthy of a spa, is empty because patients are usually seen right away.
But Texas Emergency Center is a real emergency room. It’s licensed by the state and staffed around the clock by a doctor and a nurse.
“We’re a service to the community. We give them back the most valuable thing: time,” says Terri Hardy, who is chief of clinical operations for Texas Emergency Center. “They come here and we see them immediately. We perform the same labs, the same X-rays, the same CAT scans, the same ultrasounds. … It’s convenience.””
Read the full report here: NPR Morning Edition