Emergency Care Fast (Or It's Free)

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Visits to one Denton County ER are free if you don't see a doctor in 15 minutes.

    Visits to one Denton County emergency room are free if you don't see a doctor in 15 minutes or less.

    The Emerus 24-Hour Emergency Room on state Highway 380 in Aubrey has even put up billboards advertising the policy.

    See a Doctor in 15 Minutes or It's Free

    [DFW] See a Doctor in 15 Minutes or It's Free
    Most people can't stand waiting in the emergency room to see a doctor, but a Denton County hospital is promising you'll see a doctor within 15 minutes or your visit is free. (Published Wednesday, May 12, 2010)

    "We started that about a month ago," said Dr. Randy Park, the facility's director. "We recognized this as one of our goals was rapid service."

    So far, only three people have had their $1,000 visit paid for by the facility.

    The 24-Hour Emergency Room has only been open for 16 months, but averages 600 patients per month. It specializes in emergency care, allowing the staff to handle patients quickly.

    "The patient comes first here, and then the paperwork," nurse Patty Sedge said.

    Some limited paperwork must be filled out first. But once it's complete, patients get a stopwatch, and the clock starts ticking on the 15-minute promise.

    Ninety percent of patients are treated and released, so the 24 Hour Emergency Room focuses on the specific treatment instead of admissions and in-patient care like most conventional hospitals do.

    About seven people who are cross-trained in multiple medical disciplines work per shift. Nurses don't wait on blood tests results from the lab, because they're trained to test it themselves. X-rays are done across the hall from patients instead of on a separate floor, and the technology is state-of-the-art.

    "I feel like we have more time to talk to the patients, get to know the patients, get to know underlying problems that the patients have," Sedge said.

    Park said it comes down to focus. Emergency care should have the singular goal of being fast, he said. Anything less than that, and patients start to believe no one cares about the pain they or their loved one are in.

    "We want to provide that care to eliminate the stress and the pain of waiting when you visit emergency rooms," he said.