Frequently Asked Questions

What are your hours of operation?
We are open every day of the year, 24 hours a day. In other words, we never close, not even for holidays!

What kind of emergencies do you treat?
We feature a full-service emergency department that can effectively diagnose and initiate treatment for all medical emergencies, from insect bites to heart attacks.

When should I visit Austin Emergency Center?
Because Austin Emergency Center is always open, we’re available to see you when doctors’ offices are closed. In an urgent or emergency illness, we can treat you, something that a doctor’s office is not always prepared to do.

Do you provide care for babies and children in addition to adults?
Yes, we treat patients of all ages and medical conditions.

Do I need to make an appointment?
You do not need to have an appointment for emergency medical care. We treat patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. All emergency testing is done immediately onsite.

How is Austin Emergency Center different from an urgent care center?
Austin Emergency Center differs from an urgent care center in that most urgent care centers are designed to handle non-life-threatening medical complaints. An urgent care facility is much like a doctor’s office with extended hours. Urgent care clinics are often staffed by physician extenders who are generally not trained in triaging critical trauma patients. If a patient goes to an urgent care clinic with a life threatening emergency, the patient will be redirected to EMS or 911. In contrast, Austin Emergency Center is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and staffed with trained emergency room doctors. Our emergency centers are equipped, similar to those of large hospitals, offering onsite imaging services like CT scans, X-rays, and ultrasound. We also have in-house laboratory services and are equipped and staffed to handle a full range of emergencies, 24/7.

Urgent Care vs AEC

What if I need to be admitted to the hospital for further care?
Should you require hospital admission, we have inpatient transfer agreements and can get you directly admitted to any major hospital. We will arrange prompt transfer to any hospital that you or your primary care physician prefer. We also will arrange for direct admission to an inpatient bed, completely bypassing the hospital’s emergency room. Our staff will do everything to ensure that your transfer to the hospital goes smoothly and quickly. It is important to note, however, that most patients are treated and released without the need for a hospital transfer.

Why are wait times at freestanding emergency facilities so short compared to hospital-based emergency rooms?
Crowded emergency rooms and lengthening wait times can be explained by several factors: a shortage of specialists on call, slow patient transfer time, and inefficient processes, endemic in oversized hospital institutions. These conventional hospital inefficiencies consistently lead to longer wait times and unnecessarily prolonged stays. Freestanding ERs typically have lower volumes, which allow the ER doctors and nurses to see you much more promptly and efficiency.

Do you have a diagnostic lab onsite?
Yes, our diagnostic lab is both CLIA- and COLA-certified. We can perform the majority of tests that hospital ERs perform. These tests are processed onsite, so we can get you the results while you wait. Click here for a comprehensive list and description of the diagnostic lab tests that we offer.

Do you offer radiology services?
Yes, we offer X-ray, ultrasound, CT, and Doppler technology. When you require imaging, in addition to being evaluated in real-time by your ER doctor, we send the images electronically to an offsite radiologist to be read immediately. As an added benefit, this technology provides for printed radiology reports, typically ready in about 20 minutes, which is faster than a hospital ER. Before you leave, we also will give you a copy of the lab results and images on disk.

What insurance do you take?
We accept all private insurance plans, including Aetna, United Health, Humana, BC/BS, and Cigna. We honor all insurance in-network benefits. Unfortunately, we do not accept Medicare or Medicaid at this time.

What types of payment do you take for self-pay patients?
We accept cash, checks, and all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, and Discover.

What part of my bill am I responsible for?
You will be asked to pay your emergency room copay at the end of your visit.

How do I know if Austin Emergency Center is “in network?”
According to Texas guidelines, all insurance carriers are required to pay in-network benefits for any member seeking emergency medical treatment. Texas law requires your insurance carrier to pay for your emergency care, whether the emergency room is “in network” or “out of network.” The state of Texas empowers you to use “a prudent layperson standard” in considering what constitutes an emergency.

What if I have trouble with my insurance company?
State law requires patients to be reimbursed for emergency room visits by their insurance carrier. If your insurance company refuses payment for your emergency room visit, you can file a grievance with the Texas Department of Insurance. To learn more about the Texas Department of Insurance, please visit http://www.tdi.state.tx.us.

What if I don’t have insurance?
At Austin Emergency Center, we put your medical needs first. If you do not have insurance, we’ll work with you on a cash fee schedule to help you cover your visit.