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First-Ever Free-Standing ER At An Airport To Land At DFW

Code 3 Emergency Physicians is building the country's first free-standing emergency room in an airport at DFW International Airport. The first-of-its-kind facility aims to lower costs for employers affiliated with the airport, treat travelers and offer quicker emergency healthcare access to an underserved area.

Code 3 Emergency Physicians groundbreaking at DFW Airport

This will be the 4-year-old company’s seventh site, the sixth in Texas and this first on airport land. Code 3 Emergency Physicians founder, President and CEO Carrie de Moore said the move was driven by a simple demand analysis in the area rather than an overarching trend toward healthcare in airports.

“We did not buy into putting an ER on any corner. We were looking for a place of absolute need … looking at the map [we saw] this huge hole in the middle of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that does not have easy access to emergency care. That is what really put [this site] on our radar,” de Moore said. 

Code 3 looked at the number of ambulance transports coming out of DFW Airport — about 5,000 transports last year, according to de Moore. There is also demand from people who drive themselves to the ER after getting off of a flight.

DFW Airport

The greatest, most consistent need Code 3 is trying to meet is that of the employers in and around the airport, like American Airlines. Their workers are highly concentrated in the area without easy access to emergency healthcare, so Code 3 decided to skirt the bog of insurance firms and deal directly with the corporations in need of care for their employees. 

This is in response to the trends it sees in the insurance market and the opportunity high premiums have created for other healthcare providers like Code 3 to offer more competitive pricing for emergency care.

“If you look at the insurance industry and how we are insured, especially in Texas, the overwhelming majority are employer-sponsored plans, so I looked at where I could, if need be, go negotiate directly with employers to provide them value instead of having to negotiate directly with the insurance companies who we do not always see eye to eye [with],” de Moore said.

DFW Airport

Also in response to trends in the market, the 9K SF facility at DFW Airport will feature a telehealth option for travelers in need of health advice during or after their trip. 

As far as opening other free-standing ERs in airports goes, Code 3 will decide case by case. De Moore said not every airport has the need for an emergency facility, and the move to create one at DFW Airport was solely based on the opportunity evident in the numbers. De Moore said her company has considered and would be happy for the opportunity to set up shop at Love Field, but it is less likely because the area is already fairly well serviced in healthcare.