One of the Best Kept Secrets in Houston:

Urgent Care Centers & Freestanding (non-hospital) Emergency Centers ARE NOT THE SAME!

And, many local Emergency Centers hope you don’t know this!

Compare basic similarities & differences between Emergency Centers and Urgent Care Centers:

Emergency Centers
Open Every Day
Staffed by Doctors
Provides Expedited Hospital Admission
On-Site Lab
Open 24 Hours / Day
Imaging: CT Scan & X-Ray
Typical Insurance Co-Pay: $100 to $250
Typical Cost/Visit: $750 to $3500
Urgent Care Centers
Open Every Day
Staffed by Doctors
Provides Expedited Hospital Admission
On-Site Lab
Open 12 to 14 Hours / Day
Imaging: X-Ray
Typical Insurance Co-Pay: $35 to $75
Typical Cost/Visit: $150 – $450
In seeking the appropriate source for acute medical care, these questions should be answered:

  1. Is the patient’s condition life-threatening and requires the use of EMERGENCY medical resources?
  2. Will the patient require hospitalization AFTER care is received?

If the answer to these questions is “Yes”, and it is possible to do so, the patient should be taken to a Hospital Emergency Facility. If the answer is “No”, the patient can receive excellent care and a substantial cost savings will be recognized at true Urgent Care facilities like enTrust Immediate Care™.

When acute medical care is needed, here’s a quick way to choose an appropriate source: Under state regulations, if the name of the medical facility includes the word “Emergency”, it is an Emergency Center. Urgent Care centers typically will include “Urgent Care” or “Immediate Care” in their names, but they do not use the word “Emergency”.

One source of confusion is this: in many advertising formats, Houston’s freestanding Emergency Centers continue to identify themselves with “Urgent Care”. While this may be accurate from the perspective of the actual medical care being provided, they fail to clarify that the charges for the care provided are in line with those charges incurred in hospital emergency rooms. These are typically five to eight times more than charges at urgent care centers for the same level of care. This can also be verified with major health insurance carriers.

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We would like to develop new enTrust Immediate Care™ centers to provide medical care and savings throughout the Houston area. Your assistance in sharing the information above with your family, friends and employers will help us do that. Thank you.

enTrust Immediate Care™ is Healthcare Delivered Promptly, Professionally, Conveniently & Affordably!

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A note to our patients about Health Insurance Co-Payments and Charges for Acute Medical Care…

All Co-payment amounts are established by health insurance companies. Healthcare providers do not set or alter these amounts.

In some instances, under various health insurance policies, co-payment amounts charged by an Urgent Care provider may be slightly higher than the co-payment charged at a Primary Care or Family Practice physician’s office. However, Urgent Care co-payment amounts are usually 50% – 80% less than the co-payment amounts charged in Freestanding and/or Hospital based Emergency Rooms.

Additionally, true Urgent Care providers deliver most of the same quality medical services provided in emergency rooms. However, the charges are substantially lower. The cost difference for self-paying patients is dramatically less (50% or less). And, for those with health insurance, this savings should favorably impact future insurance premium increases. Your health insurance company certainly recognizes and encourages using Urgent Care providers in minor emergency and non-life threatening cases.

In Houston, how do we recognize the difference between expensive Emergency Facilities (“ER’s”) and more practical Urgent Care Centers?

Simple: by Texas law, if “EMERGENCY” is in the name or on the sign, it is an “ER”. CHARGES WILL BE HIGHER FOR THE SERVICES PROVIDED.

The logic is clear: enTrust Immediate Care provides Prompt, Professional, Quality Care with Lower Cost… Why pay higher prices for the same medical services and resources?

We hope this information is helpful and that you share this information with your employer, friends and family!

enTrust Immediate Care™ Introduces Immediate Advantage…

Practical Assistance in Managing Healthcare Costs

Houston, TX – January, 6, 2011 – Amid unwelcome news of skyrocketing healthcare costs there is good news for Houstonians! ENTRUST IMMEDIATE CARE™, the Houston based family medicine and urgent care provider, has just introduced its IMMEDIATE ADVANTAGE plan to help employers, individuals and families offset increasing healthcare expenses and to provide them the opportunity to use their health insurance and/or workers’ compensation insurance more advantageously.

Helping Employers, Families and Individuals
Immediate Advantage is for the insured and self-insured alike. For employers providing healthcare coverage and covering the costs of work related injuries, and for individuals and families seeking a practical approach to control health care costs, this is a viable approach.

According to Kevin Stuckey, President of ENTRUST IMMEDIATE CARE™, “This plan enables employers and families to pre-pay for the urgent care and/or primary medical care they anticipate using within a foreseeable time frame and recognize a reasonable discount for doing so.” For those with health insurance, substantial savings could be recognized by coupling the Immediate Advantage plan with a higher deductible insurance policy that should be less expensive.

As an example, four complete visits to ENTRUST IMMEDIATE CARE™ can be purchased for $175/each ($700 total). This includes the following services and more provided on an “in-house” basis:

• Physician Visits for General Medical Issues (including issuing appropriate prescriptions)
• Physical Exams (including Drug Screening)
• X-Rays
• Lab Work & Tests (UA, Strep, Mono, Pregnancy & etc.)
• Sprain and Injury Care (X-Ray, splinting & crutches)
• Breathing Treatments
• Allergy Care
• Sutures (stitches)
• Basic Injections for antibiotics, tetanus, pain relief & etc.
• Muscle Strains & Sprains
• EKG’s
• Pediatric Care
• Burn Treatment (1st and 2nd Degree)
• Headache Care (migraine, sinusitis, allergy)

“The out of pocket costs for many of these same visits and treatments would typically be several hundred dollars. This plan is for people seeking to control expenses without sacrificing quality in the care they receive. And, the financial incentive for not using expensive, time consuming emergency room facilities for non-life threatening cases is substantial. By introducing Immediate Advantage, we are delivering on our mission of providing quality healthcare that is prompt, convenient and affordable.” Stuckey said.

More Information is available at PH# 713.468.7845, or at http://www.entrustcare.com.

When should an urgent care clinic be used instead of an emergency room? At enTrust Immediate Care we think that is a reasonable question with a practical answer. The “common sense” determinant is this: If the patient’s symptoms are so severe that you think he or she ultimately will need to be admitted to the hospital, go directly to an emergency room. That could be a free-standing emergency room or the ER of a hospital.

Alternatively, it is usually going to be much faster and much less expensive to use an immediate care (urgent care) clinic like enTrust Immediate Care. For instance, the national average for hospital emergency visits is over three hours compared to 30 minutes for a typical immediate care visit. And, a patient’s out of pocket co-payment may be $200 to $250 for an emergency room visit, compared to $30 to $50 in an urgent care center, even when the medical services provided would be the same.

At enTrust Immediate Care a broad range of medical services is provided. Our doctors and staff handle minor emergencies, common & seasonal illnesses, athletic injuries and most other family medical needs (pediatric & adult) on a walk-in basis. Additionally, men’s health issues can be addressed on an appointment basis. Digital X-Ray and full lab services are offered on-site.

A practical assessment of a medical need and/or condition can result in a substantial savings of time and money. Use a hospital of free-standing ER if necessary, but use enTrust Immediate Care to save time & money while still receiving excellent medical care.

WASHINGTON – Ever wondered how that “Smart Choices” sticker wound up on the front of Froot Loops or Cocoa Puffs?

Well, federal health officials are having similar thoughts, and they’re warning food manufacturers.

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that nutritional logos from food manufacturers may be misleading consumers about the actual health benefits of cereal, crackers and other processed foods. The agency sent a letter to companies saying it will begin cracking down on inaccurate food labeling. The FDA did not name specific products or give a timeline for enforcement.

U.S. manufacturers, including Kellogg, Kraft Foods and General Mills, rolled out their so-called Smart Choices program last year, amid growing concern about obesity rates. The green labels appear on the front of foods that meet certain standards for calories per serving and fat content.

But consumer advocates complain about lax standards for the program, with logos appearing on everything from frozen sweets to sugary cereals.

“There are products that have gotten the Smart Choices check mark that are almost 50 percent sugar,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said during a call with reporters.

The agency is developing proposed nutritional standards that would have to be met before manufacturers place such claims on their packages, Hamburg said. She added that she hoped industry would cooperate with the FDA to develop standardized “labeling that all Americans can trust and use to build better diets.”

Mike Hughes, chair of the Smart Choices Program, said in a statement that Smart Choices is based on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

“We believe in the science behind the Smart Choices Program,” he said. “We also look forward to the opportunity to participate in FDA’s initiatives on front-of-package labeling.”

There are more than a half-dozen labels crowding grocery packages, including the American Heart Association’s heart-shaped logo, Giant Food Store’s Healthy Ideas box and Supervalu’s Nutritional IQ logo.

“There’s a growing proliferation of forms and symbols, check marks, numerical ratings, stars, heart icons and the like,” said Hamburg. “There’s truly a cacophony of approaches, not unlike the tower of Babel.”

The FDA plans to research whether one particular approach would make it easier for consumers to select healthy foods. Hamburg pointed to the success of the U.K.’s traffic light system, which uses red, yellow and green lights to highlight nutritional quality.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association said its members will work with the FDA to provide useful nutritional information to consumers. The Washington-based group – which includes Kraft, Nestle USA and most other large food processors – said companies already have reformulated 10,000 products to make them healthier.

Such changes includes ConAgra’s move to reduce sodium in its soup, hot dogs and other products by 20 percent, and General Mills adding fiber to its cereals.

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AP Business Writer Sarah Skidmore contributed to this report from Portland, Ore.

By MATTHEW PERRONE     AP Business Writer

enTrust Immediate Care can provide most of the services typically provided in hospital or freestanding emergency rooms. These include minor emergency care as well as full family care. Access to doctors is immediate! The care is delivered MUCH faster and it is MUCH less expensive

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