close up of cast on ankle of a man

It’s hard to get a broken bone set at a hospital these days. We’ve had several (well, two) experiences of going to an emergency room and getting a diagnosis of a broken bone — and a recommendation that we find an orthopedist.

So it wasn’t surprising to see this come across our radar: a Chicago orthopedic practice that invites people to bring broken bones into the office, skipping the hospital:

“You have a sprained ankle, a broken bone, a torn ligament and want immidiate attention. You could go to the emergency room, wait around for hours to see a doctor, and pay expensive bills, only to have the doctor there recommend you see an orthopedic specialist. Skip the expensive middle man and come straight to OrthoAccess. You do not need an appointment. Just come in and be seen by the area’s leading orthopedic specialists. Our immediate care services for orthopedic injuries are located in offices with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, friendly, concerned staff, and are affiliated with one of the largest and most authoritative groups of doctors, surgeons, and health care professionals in the country.”

It’s from the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, with more than 20 locations in the Chicago area. It’s also a sign of the times: emergency rooms are commonly the site of long waits, delayed treatments and large bills. For many hospitals, an  emergency room is a cash cow. For many insurance companies, an emergency-room bill is an anathema. Problem, meet solution (except when the IBIJ offices are closed).

Jeanne Pinder

Jeanne Pinder  is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded...