Freestanding Emergency Departments (FSED), also known as Stand-Alone Emergency Departments, are a relatively new addition to the healthcare system and are sprouting up in both urban and rural areas across the nation. In South Carolina, these facilities, which must be an extension of an existing hospital emergency department, perform the same functions as an emergency department found on a hospital campus. Freestanding Emergency Departments are not the same as Urgent Care Centers; the licensure requirements and scope of practice for a FSED are more advanced compared to an Urgent Care Center. Due to the greater acuity of care provided at a FSED, patient charges will be higher than at an Urgent Care Center. FSEDs follow the Certificate of Need (CON) requirements in South Carolina, as established by SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), to help reduce unnecessary duplication of health care facilities and services. Currently there are several facilities in the CON appeals process.

As of March 2018, there are six Freestanding Emergency Departments in South Carolina with two more under construction. In total they span five counties; including Bamberg, Charleston, Dorchester, Fairfield and Horry. These facilities seek to improve access to emergency care in areas otherwise removed from expedient treatment options.

Traditional FSED Services/Structure:

  • Availability – 24 hours, 7 days per week
  • Practitioners – Board Certified Emergency Medicine Physicians
  • Laboratory – CLIA-Certified Automated & Point of Care Testing
  • Imaging – Ultrasound, X-Ray & CT
  • Patient Charges – Similar Charges as a Hospital Emergency Department
  • Facility Reimbursement – OPPS – Similar to Hospital Emergency Department

For additional information, please reach out to Sarah Craig, Director of Health System Innovation at craig@scorh.net.