UnitedHealth Group Report: Freestanding Emergency Departments in Colorado

December 06, 2017
fsed colorado

In Colorado, as of August 2016, there were 40 freestanding emergency departments (FSEDs) – both hospital-owned and independent – about triple the number in 2014.

A new report from UnitedHealth Group explores factors including location, utilization and costs of freestanding emergency departments in the Colorado market. Key findings in the report reveal:

  • In Colorado, FSEDs are concentrated in metropolitan areas; specifically they are located in zip codes with higher median incomes, higher rates of private health insurance coverage and higher health care spending.

  • Between 2014 and 2017, FSED utilization per person for all services increased at an annual rate of 64 percent.

  • In Colorado, the average cost at an FSED ($2,570) is almost 17 times more than at a physician office ($154), almost 13 times more than at an urgent care center ($205), and about equal to the cost at a hospital-based ED ($2,582) for a set of 10 non-emergent conditions frequently treated at FSEDs: bronchitis, sore throat, upper respiratory infection, cough, dizziness, fever, flu, headache, nausea, and strep throat.