Standalone ERs gaining ground in Illinois

Standalone emergency rooms are on the rise in Illinois and across the country. Illinois lawmakers passed the legislation allowing the sites last year.

Demand for urgent care in hospitals have driven a growing trend for such facilities. According to a survey conducted by the American Hospital Association, the number of standalone ERs owned by hospitals or entrepreneurial doctors grew 23 percent from 2005 to 2006.

In Illinois counties where populations are on the rise, hospitals recognize the need for diversified services for patients who need urgent care but do not need to be admitted to the hospital.

"There is a demand for emergency and urgent care in this area, but not for another [full-sized] hospital. An off-site emergency center allows us to provide the care needed," said Dawn Frank, Director of Lake Forest Hospital Grayslake Emergency Center in Lake County. "An off-site emergency center allows us to provide the care needed."

Such facilities rival smaller scale providers or so called doc in a box outlets that aren't directly affiliated with a hospital or do not have the equipment and staff.

For more:
- see the Chicago Tribune story
- go to the American Hospital Association's website