Be Prepared: Choosing Between Urgent and Emergency Care

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Be Prepared: Choosing Between Urgent and Emergency Care

Dr talking to older man in a urgent care room

When Health Emergencies Hit, Knowing Before You Go Is Key!

Before urgent or emergency medical situations arise, it’s a good idea to know the details of your VA care benefits. Making a plan ahead of time can ensure you have the information you need to access your benefits, reduce out-of-pocket costs when and where possible and help reduce panic in high-stress situations.

First, let’s explore the difference between urgent and emergency care. It’s important to note that eligibility and coverage may vary for each type of care.

Urgent care includes medical services provided for not life-threatening injuries or illnesses such as strep throat, pink eye, or influenza. Keep reading to learn more about in-network clinics and benefit requirements. 

Emergency care consists of hospital services that are necessary to prevent serious impairment of health such as severe chest pain, seizures, uncontrollable bleeding, moderate-to-severe burns or any injury or symptom that is so severe that delaying immediate medical attention would be hazardous to life or health. 

If you’re in doubt about your health condition or illness, as a Veteran, you should consider always seeking out a higher level of care, such as care from an emergency department. For more information on emergency medical care, please visit the VA’s Emergency Medical Care page.

Seeking Urgent Care – Eligibility & Finding a Provider

To access the urgent care benefits and services that the VA offers, follow the information below to help avoid a financial or medical crisis.


To be eligible for in-network urgent care, Veterans must: 

  • Be enrolled in the VA health care system and
  • Have received care within the past 24 months through the VA or a community provider

Contact your local VA medical facility to check eligibility.

Find a Provider

To access urgent care benefits, you must go to an in-network urgent care provider. To find an in-network provider, you can: 

  • Contact your local VA medical facility, or
  • Use the VA Facility Locator, or
  • Call the Community Care Contact Center at 877-881-7618

Many VA and community provider locations have changed hours and services because of COVID, so calling before your visit can ensure you find the help you need.

Get Care

When you arrive at an in-network urgent care provider, you should: 

  • Bring a valid, government-issued photo ID and
  • Verify the urgent care provider is included in the VA contracted network and
  • Inform the location/provider you would like to use your VA urgent care benefits to receive care and
  • Do not pay a copayment at the time of your urgent care visit 

If you have difficulty receiving care or filling an urgent care prescription, or if you receive care from a provider that is not part of the VA contracted network, visit the VA’s Urgent Care page for more information. 

As eligible Veterans, you deserve access to medical care and having a plan on how to use your benefits when needed will help ensure a smooth experience. For more information on covered services, prescription medication, copayments and more visit the VA’s Urgent Care page or call the Summit County VSC at 330-643-2830.

Urgent Care in Summit County

VA Urgent Care facilities in Summit County include:

UH Akron Urgent Care

UH Akron Urgent Care - Tallmadge, OH
(Accepts walk-ins or call for instructions)
145 West Ave. Suite 2
Tallmadge, OH 44278
(330) 633-7090

Concentra Urgent Care

Concentra Urgent Care, Akron, OH
(If experiencing flu-like symptoms, call first and wait in the car for someone to assist you)
1450 Firestone Pkwy.
Akron, OH 44301
(330) 724-5299

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