Would you be willing to pay more to be seen more quickly in the ER?

This ER in Atlanta is betting that you will.

Taking advantage of worsening patient wait times in emergency departments, the Emory Adventist Hospital is offering a “Hold my place in line” service.

For a fee of $24.99, patients are guaranteed to be see in 15 minutes or less – or the entire visit is free.

It seems to me like shrewd business, and the blatant beginning of tiered emergency service. However, WhiteCoat observes this may be a violation of EMTALA laws, which states that a screening exam needs to be performed in all patients in a non-discriminatory manner: “[It will] be interesting to see whether CMS jumps in if a patient who couldn’t afford the $25 co-pay had to sit longer at the back of the line and experienced a bad outcome.”

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