Freestanding Emergency Departments: Do They Have a Role in California?

Mike Williams
Michael Pfeffer


This is archived content; for historical reference only.

Although freestanding emergency departments (FEDs) have existed since the early 1970s, cropping up first in rural areas of the eastern United States, much of the public remains unaware of them — including many people in the health care industry. However, use of FEDs is growing, with patient visits increasing 32% in the last decade alone.

The declining number of hospital emergency departments combined with the increased demand for emergency services has prompted an increased focus on FEDs, both for their potential to alleviate pressure on the hospital system and because of concern over how their operations should be regulated.

This issue brief profiles the prevalence of FEDs in the national landscape and inventories their practices. It also presents an overview of their regulation by federal and state governments, as well as a discussion of the environment for FEDs in California.

The complete issue brief is available under Document Downloads.