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What is a free-standing ER: When should you go there for care?

A free-standing ER, like North Suburban Medical Center's Northwest ER, is equipped to handle a wide range of emergency medical conditions.

February 01, 2024
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Getting help fast is critical when you or a loved one have a medical emergency and feel a delay in care may significantly impact your health. A free-standing ER, like North Suburban Medical Center's Northwest ER, is equipped to handle a wide range of emergency medical conditions, including chest and abdominal pain, trauma, broken bones and severe illnesses. Like a large hospital emergency department, a free-standing emergency room offers the same level of compassionate care; however, wait times are typically shorter.

What conditions are treated at a free-standing ER?

Sometimes, a trip to the ER is necessary, and in that case, don't hesitate to head there.

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately if you or a family member has a medical emergency
  • Chest pains, shortness of breath, uncontrolled bleeding
  • Head injuries, neck, back or abdominal pains
  • Broken bones
  • Snake bites
  • Stroke-like symptoms such as facial drooping, slurred speech and arm weakness
  • Severe headaches, dizziness and fainting
  • Vomiting
  • Motor vehicle collisions
  • Heat exhaustion and dehydration

What to expect

  • Free-standing ERs are staffed 24/7/365 with board-certified emergency physicians, nurses and medical technicians.
  • Wait times are often shorter – text "ER" to 322-22 to find the shortest wait times near you.
  • Northwest ER is not physically connected to the main hospital. If your physician determines you must be admitted, transportation to the main campus of North Suburban Medical Center is covered.

What we offer

  • 11-bed, 24/7/365 emergency medical services for adults and pediatric emergencies
  • Experienced and highly skilled board-certified emergency medicine physicians and care teams
  • Private patient rooms with rooms devoted to pediatric care
  • Onsite imaging services, including computerized tomography (CT) scans, ultrasounds and digital X-rays
  • Dedicated trauma/resuscitation room
  • Telemedicine camera for patient consultations by a physician specialist
  • Affiliation with Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver for outstanding pediatric care

It's important to note we accept most insurance providers, including Kaiser Permanente members. It's advisable to check with your insurance provider.

A free-standing ER is not an urgent care

  • An Urgent Care can treat minor injuries that are not life-threatening, including sprains, migraines, flu, fever and rashes.
  • Visit the ER for head injuries/traumas, chest and severe abdominal pain, deep cuts or wounds and when you suspect someone is having a stroke.

Our emergency physicians are specially trained in the care and treatment of all ages, including pediatric patients. They specialize in trauma, critical care, cardiology, orthopedics and all typical childhood illness. We prioritize pediatric patients and their families upon arrival at the Emergency Department with minimal, if any, wait before seeing a physician. Our dedicated pediatric treatment rooms provide a calm, soothing environment from the rest of the Emergency Department.

We are committed to enriching our community through extraordinary healthcare for both adult and pediatric emergency patients, with significantly shorter wait times.

HealthONE is everywhere you need us. From middle-of-the-night fevers to chest pain to broken bones, we offer 13 ERs in the Denver area that are prepared to provide advanced care at any time. Find 24/7 ER care near you at

February 01, 2024