Select ER opened its doors to the public in last 2016 when it opened a location the the northern edge of the Sherman Town Center. The emergency room was one of several 24-hour freestanding ERs that were developed in recent years. However, the facility at the time did not accept Medicare or Medicaid or most major insurance policies for payment.

The health care provider held a brief ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning for ER at Sherman, which previously operated independently as Select ER prior to being absorbed under the Texoma Medical Center banner.

Physicians and officials with TMC took over operations of the freestanding ER, located in the Sherman Town Center, starting on Oct. 1.

With the transition to TMC’s services, TMC CEO Ron Seal said the ER will now accept insurance and Medicare and Medicaid much like the hospital. This will open the facilities services to another segment of the community who previously would not be able to make use of it.

“As you may know, most ERs are not hospital related and don’t serve the full public,” TMC Board Chairman Bill Douglass said.

The facility features eight patient rooms, including one dedicated to pediatric care and another outfitted for gynecological care. The facility will also be able to do most laboratory work and imaging through x-ray and CT scan equipment on site.

What separates the facility from other care options, including urgent care, is the scheduling, Seal said. While most facilities may be open for set hours, the ER facility will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week with physicians constantly available.

The facility will primarily serve patients with minor emergencies that do not require admittance to the hospital, Seal said.

Of the 70,000 ER visits that TMC saw last year, only about 20,000 required admittance to the hospital. The new facility may take some of the weight off of the main campus which can then focus on major emergencies that require more extensive and longer care.

“By having these ERs, it allows people to come in with minor emergencies without having to go to the main ER,” Seal said.

TMC Ambulatory Services Director Jared Johnson said the change over to the TMC brand happened at exactly midnight on Oct. 1. This transition involved a great deal of training with staff as TMC used different equipment and systems than Select ER. Despite the changes, TMC was able to retain the majority of the former Select ER staff.

So far, the ER has seen increasing use over the past week and a half with traffic higher than it was under the Select ER banner, Johnson said.

“As word gets out that we are accepting all insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, people are seeing this as an emergency opportunity for them,” he said.

Hospital officials said this will not be TMC’s only venture into freestanding ERs. The company plans to open a second, similar facility in Anna, with a groundbreaking expected by the end of the year.