Ochsner Health System is partnering with an emergency care specialist to set up stand-alone emergency rooms in the New Orleans area and throughout Louisiana.

The joint venture with publicly traded Adeptus Health Inc., based in Lewisville, Texas, will provide more convenient access to emergency medical care.

“We want to offer a full spectrum of care and see patients when and where they want to be seen,” said Ochsner President and Chief Executive Officer Warner Thomas. “This partnership is truly an extension of that effort and is expected to ensure that many Louisiana residents will no longer have to drive more than 30 minutes when they need critical, emergency care services.”

The partners will start with sites in the Greater New Orleans area.

According to the American College of Emergency Physicians, the number of emergency department visits have increased rapidly over the last several decades while the number of hospital emergency departments has shrunk.

The freestanding emergency rooms are primarily located in urban areas, according to the Emergency Physicians organization. The vast majority of them are attached to “home” hospital-based emergency departments.

Baton Rouge General Mid City closed its Emergency Room earlier this year. A physician speaking on behalf of the Emergency Physicians group suggested Baton Rouge might consider a freestanding ER.

Ochsner is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, healthcare system, with 25 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and more than 50 health centers.

The Ochsner joint venture allows Adeptus to expand into a fourth state, according to CEO Thomas S. Hall. The company owns, operates or has partnerships of emergency room networks in Texas, Colorado and Arizona.

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