Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a freestanding ER and a hospital-based ER?

The difference between a freestanding ER and a hospital-based ER is the process of admitting a patient to the hospital. At a freestanding ER, a patient who needs to be admitted to a hospital for inpatient care will be transported by ambulance or medical helicopter. These patients are directly admitted to the appropriate hospital unit and do not get re-evaluated by the hospital’s ER.

What is the difference between a freestanding ER and an urgent care clinic?

A freestanding ER operates 24/7, is staffed with board-certified emergency medicine physicians and is capable of caring for patients in critical medical conditions. Typically, urgent care clinics have limited hours of operation and may utilize mid-level providers like nurse practitioners for patient care. Urgent care clinics can be a good option for non-life-threatening illnesses and injuries.

Will doctors work at the ER?

Yes, Hartselle Health Park ER will be staffed by board-certified emergency medicine physicians as well as registered nurses, lab technicians and radiology technicians.

What if a patient needs to be hospitalized?

At a freestanding ER, a patient who needs to be admitted to a hospital for inpatient care will be transported by ambulance or medical helicopter. These patients are directly admitted to the appropriate hospital unit and do not get re-evaluated by the hospital’s ER.

Will the ER have the same capabilities as a hospital-based ER?

Yes, Hartselle Health Park ER can treat any of the conditions a hospital-based ER can. It will be equipped with specialized physicians and clinical teams, on-site imaging technology including MRI and CT, on-site lab services, an ambulance bay and helipad.

When will Hartselle Health Park ER open?

Cullman Regional must get permission from the State of Alabama to build a freestanding ER. This approval process was initiated when Cullman Regional submitted a Letter of Intent to the state’s Certificate of Need (CON) Board on October 31, 2022. An uncontested CON application can be approved within a few months. Cullman Regional estimates construction will take a year and a half, making it feasible that Hartselle Health Park ER could be operational within two years.

What criteria are used to review a CON application?

The CON Board is thorough and considers many factors including the applicant organization’s financial status, whether the project addresses unmet healthcare needs and aligns with the community’s health plans, how the project may impact other organizations, and the level of community support.

How can I show my support for Cullman Regional’s plan to build Hartselle Health Park ER?

Cullman Regional and the Hartselle Health Park team are grateful for the tremendous support received from the community. If you would like to show your support for the addition of Hartselle Health Park ER, please add your name to our community supporters list here.

Hartselle Health Park ER waiting area

Hartselle Health Park ER nurses’ station

Hartselle Health Park ER treatment room