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Erie VA Medical Center


Urgent Care Center is open for business

Our new Urgent Care Center entrance

Entrance to the Urgent Care Center.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Erie VA’s Urgent Care Center provides the same services, for the same conditions that were treated in the Emergency Room(ER), just no emergency issues that would require an ambulance.

Erie VA Medical Center's Urgent Care Center is open from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. every day, including weekends and holidays. The Urgent Care Center still offers the same great care and operates the same as our emergency room did with the exception of two changes: 1) The hours of operation have changed and, 2) we no longer accept emergency ambulances. We will continue to accept ambulances that are transferring Veterans to our inpatient units. All other services remain the same. 

What that means for Erie VAMC patients: If you don't feel your medical issue is severe enough to call an ambulance, it's probably safe to say our Urgent Care Center is the right place for you to get the right care. We can take care of the majority of urgent/unanticipated care issues. No appointment is necessary, walk-ins are welcome.

Urgent Care Hours:  8 a.m. – 8 p.m. every day, including weekends and holidays.

Urgent Care Center Services:  Erie VA's Urgent Care Center is available for the majority of non-emergent medical issues – basically, if it's not severe enough to call an ambulance, come to our Urgent Care Center. 

Location:  Exactly where the former Emergency Room was located.  Located to the right of the main entrance to our facility at 135 East 38th Street in Erie. 

Unsure of whether you require urgent care or emergency services?  Call the Nurse Care Line at 814–860–2100.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the difference between urgent care and emergency care?

Emergency care is something that you as an individual would deem necessary for a call to 911 or your local ambulance service. The emergent situation is something that you feel would require immediate medical attention at your home or at your location. This is when you should visit an emergency room at a community hospital close to you.

Urgent care services are for patients without an appointment who are in need of medical attention for a medical, mental health issue or for a minor injury. If you are in need of urgent care services, visit our Urgent Care Center open daily between the hours of 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. If you are unsure, please call our 24 hour Nurse Call line at 814–860–2100.

Who can I talk to about payment/financial questions related to this change?

When it comes to payment, each Veteran's case is unique based upon his or her eligibility. Veterans are reminded to contact the Erie VA within 72 hours of a community ER visit or an admission. 

For patients that have no health insurance coverage (including Medicare) that experience an emergent situation and are taken to a community Emergency Room, they will most likely meet the criteria for payment by the VA under the Millenium Act.

If you are taken to a local Non-VA emergency room and need admission, ask them to call the VA. The VA may very well accept you to our inpatient unit if the condition calls for admission here.

Veterans coming to the Erie VA Urgent Care Center who currently have a co-pay will experience less co-pay costs. The Urgent Care Center is considered primary care and therefore would incur a primary care co-pay at $15 versus a specialty care co-pay for an emergency room visit at $50. 

If you have questions about payment, please call 814–860–2800 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  After hours, phone calls can be directed to the Medical Administration Assistant at 814–860–2165. 

What if the doctor thinks I need to be admitted?

Erie VA’s 22-bed inpatient acute care unit remains open and we will continue to admit patients or will arrange for a transfer if needed.  The inpatient unit will continue to accept stable transfers from other community hospitals.

Why did the Emergency Room change into an Urgent Care Center?

The transition to an Urgent Care Center was strictly a patient safety issue. Because Erie VA no longer has an ICU, we do not want to cause any delays in treatment of a critical nature. We would not want a patient to come to the Erie ER only to be transported again to another hospital.

The Urgent Care Center provides a vast majority of the non-ambulance urgent care for Veterans. Over the past year, the Erie ER has only received on average one ambulance arrival per day. Most of the patients arriving are coming for urgent care services, not critical services. 911 ambulance calls will be transported to any area tertiary care medical center by the ambulance service. This has been the current practice at the medical center for quite some time, particularly for cardiovascular, stroke and traumatic events. The Erie ER never served as a trauma center and does not have the subspecialists available to support critical care interventions for some of these conditions.


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