University Campus Emergency Department - FAQs

CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center University Campus features a state-of-the-art Emergency Department (ED). This healthcare facility is open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for treatment of emergency and urgent medical conditions. No appointment is required. Although the Emergency Department is not located in a hospital, it is staffed with the same type of medical personnel and diagnostic equipment available in a traditional hospital emergency department.

Is the Emergency Department licensed?

Yes, following Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) criteria, it is a hospital-based outpatient department, or HOPD, operating under the license and accreditation of its associated hospital.  As a HOPD, the same federal, state and local regulations apply.

Why have I not heard of an Emergency Department located outside of a hospital before?

Although the concept has existed for several years, these Emergency Departments generally are new to many states.  In 2014, they successfully served communities by improving access to emergency care and treatment in 22 states.

How is this Emergency Department different from an urgent care center?

The Emergency Department is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, while most urgent care centers only are open eight (8) to 16 hours per day. Most importantly, they treat all urgent and emergent medical conditions, including heart attacks, strokes, respiratory distress, head injuries, abdominal pain, dehydration, orthopedic injuries (fractures), sports injuries, and lacerations (requiring sutures/stitches). These conditions are beyond the scope of treatment for most urgent care centers. Urgent care centers are not licensed or regulated.

How are these Emergency Departments different from traditional hospital campus emergency departments?

They provide the same emergency treatment patients receive in a traditional hospital-based emergency department. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2010 National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey indicated one-third (1/3) of hospital-based ED patients are in the ED between two and four hours. At these new Emergency Departments, members of the clinical care team generally assess the needs and begin care for patients immediately. They also uniquely provide a convenient, comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.

Is this really a full service emergency department?

Yes, it provides full service, accredited, licensed emergency care. In other words, patients receive the same medical care and level of care as they would receive in a hospital main campus ED. If a patient requires admission to the hospital for something immediate, such as surgery, the patient will be transported to the hospital.

Why do I not feel like I am in an emergency department?

Designed smaller, these Emergency Departments allow a quieter, pleasant environment and a higher level of comfort for patients and families. With fewer accidents, traumas or extremely high acuity patients, they tend to have lower volumes than busy hospital campus EDs, allowing patients to receive more personalized visits as well as care and treatment in a pleasant environment.

What types of emergencies do they treat?

As a full service emergency department, they are open 24/7, 365 days a year and treat all emergencies: life-threatening emergencies, such as chest pain or stroke; non-life threatening conditions, including stitches, broken bones, and persistent coughs; or symptoms that may be more severe than initially understood, such as dizziness, abdominal pain, severe respiratory or urinary infections, influenza, dehydration, and unusual bleeding.

How fast will I be seen?

The time to see a physician can be less than 10 minutes. Also, the time required for an exam, studies and treatment often is far less than a traditional hospital ED.

What types of services are offered?

The emergency physician has on site all of the services located in a hospital ED: laboratory services, CT scan, EKG, ultrasound and X-ray. Patients may be treated with medications, including injectable medications and IV fluids. When appropriate, the physician also may write a take home prescription to be filled at a local pharmacy.

What types of physicians and staff care for patients in this type of Emergency Department?

It is staffed with board certified physicians and highly qualified, trained emergency nurses and allied health professionals.

Will ambulances take patients to these facilities?

Yes, since they are licensed and able to provide all levels of emergency care, ambulances bring patients to the facilities. Generally, local EMS/ambulance services will take higher acuity patients, such as major trauma, life-threatening illnesses, or injuries to a on-campus, hospital ED. Local EMS may transport less ill or injured patients to this Emergency Department outside of a hospital for stabilization and treatment, and this clinical protocol is established in advance between the local EMS provider and the FSED medical staff.

For Physicians:

Can I send my patients to the Emergency Department outside of a hospital for tests or procedures? 

As with any emergency department (ED), the patient will be registered and seen as an emergency patient. Physicians may send STAT requests to the ED. Routine, elective outpatient or clinic visits are not within the scope of services offered by this Emergency Department.

Who covers call for admissions, consults and discharge follow-ups at this ED?

The same hospital staff physicians who are on call for admissions or consults at the main hospital ED are also on call for this Emergency Department. These facilities are just another ED for that hospital.

As a staff physician who is on call, will I need to go to the ED to see a patient?

If a patient requires a specialty consult, the patient generally is transported to the hospital and seen by the specialist. In most cases, when a patient from this ED requires a consult, the patient meets criteria for admission to the hospital. The specialist may chose where to see the patient based on resources available, time of day, and patient preference.

If a patient is admitted to a hospital, what is the process? 

An admitted patient goes directly to the appropriate inpatient or observation bed, cardiac catheterization lab, surgical suite, or other procedure location. It is inappropriate for patients to leave one ED for another within the same hospital.

What is the required process or paperwork for transferring a patient from this ED to the hospital?

Patients are transported – either by ambulance or private automobile and based on protocol – from the ED to the hospital. The ED follows the same hospital processes to admit a patient. As a department of the hospital, Memorandum of Transfer or other related hospital-to-hospital documentation is not necessary. If a patient is transferred to another hospital, standard hospital-to-hospital transfer processes apply.

For Patients:

Am I required to pay for services prior to being treated?

Consistent with the requirements of the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (“EMTALA”), a hospital-based Emergency Department (FSED) treats all emergency department (ED) patients, including a medical screening examination and appropriate stabilizing treatment, regardless of their ability to pay.

What insurance plans does this ED accept?

These EDs operate as an extension of a hospital and will accept the same private insurance and government payers as the hospital. If a hospital has a self-pay discount, it also may be applied to this ED.

What am I required to pay?

Patients whose insurance plans treat ED services as “in-network” are required to pay the emergency department co-pay as designated by the insurance plan at the time of service. As with any visit to an emergency department, upon receipt of the explanation of benefits (EOB) from the insurance carrier, patients may also be required to pay any co-insurance or toward a current year deductible, as determined by the insurance provider. 

What if I have to be admitted to a hospital?

In most cases and based on plan benefits, the cost of the ambulance transport from this type of ED to the main hospital for admission is paid by the patients insurance. If a patient chooses another hospital or needs to be transferred to a higher level of care, the insurance company – based on plan benefits and consistent with stabilization and transfer from any hospital ED – will be billed for the transport.