- State police in Bedford searching for gun thief
- 80-year prison sentence for Bedford man affirmed
- Teen charge with desecrating Bedford Co. statue
- Bedford Co. World War II monument unveiled
- Lunch lady accused of stealing gym bag
- World War II monument complete in Bedford Co.
- Cash 5 ticket worth $225K sold in Bedford Co.
- Bedford Co. teenager killed in crash
- Vandals open fire hydrant, releasing 200,000 gallons of water
- Group of men making a difference to honor veterans
- Vacant Bedford Co. home destroyed by fire
- 6 local airports receiving funding
- Police: Neighbor shoots neighbor in Bedford Co.
- Man dies after single-car crash
- Man killed after hitting car head-on
- State police investigate fire at Everett home, hours after shooting
- DEVELOPING: House at center of shooting investigation catches fire
- State police investigate near drowning at Shawnee State Park
- New York film company features Bedford teen with inoperable tumor
- 62,000 UPMC employees have 'work day' smoking ban
- Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown selling bishop's home
- Crash on Route 30 in Bedford Co. kills one
- Police: Bedford Co. inmate made knife from shampoo bottle
- 29th annual WJAC-TV Donor Day underway
- Commission OKs another boost in Pa. Turnpike tolls
- Wicked weather blows through Bedford Co.
- Storm cleanup underway in Bedford Co.
- Bedford Co. fire breaks out during storms
- 20 charged for allegedly dealing drugs in Blair Co.
- Man hospitalized after police chase, crash
- Chestnut Ridge Elementary adopts
- Large Bedford Co. fire keeps crews at scene for nearly 7 hours
- Bedford Co. releases third video of Everett
- Battling prescription drug trafficking an ongoing effort
- Man killed after concrete barrier falls on him
- The 9th Congressional District candidates face off
- Will's Mountain fire ruled arson
- Police: Man goes on hike in woods, dies of natural causes
- Speed limit restored on Rt. 220 in Bedford Co.
- Some firefighters sent home after brush fire contained
- Crews continue to extinguish Bedford Co. mountain blaze
- Fire continues to rage on Bedford Co. mountain
- Speed limit reduced near Bedford Co. mountain fire
- Brush fire continues to grow in Bedford Co.
- Brush fire in Bedford Co. covers hundreds of acres
- Police probing death of Bedford woman
- Bedford company lays off 40 employees
- Bedford Co. town still without clean water
- Crash in Bedford Co. kills one
- Everett man heading to trial on 2,426 counts of sexual abuse
- Crews battled 5-acre brush fire in Bedford Co.
- Bedford Co. turnpike closure planned
- VA hospital to close ICU, change emergency care
- Several drugs reported missing from Bedford Co. ambulance company
- Two injured in mobile home explosion
- Police identify missing man from 2008 burglary using DNA
- Bedford Co. bison farm creating boost for area business
- Hearing continued for Bedford Co. man accused of raping 3 girls
- Man tries to run over woman with car
- Wife of man facing child sex abuse charges shocked, confused
- Bedford Co. man faces 2,400 charges related to child sexual abuse
- 121 Bedford Co. homes without clean water
- Flames destroy house in Bedford Co.
- Barn catches fire early Sunday morning
- More than 300 people without water in Bedford Co.
- UPMC nurse and nurses union agree on contract
- Several displaced after fire tears through Blair Co. block
- UPMC Altoona, nurses union reach tentative contract agreement
- Police investigating fatal crash in Bedford Co.
VA hospital to close ICU, change emergency care
Updated: Thursday, March 20 2014, 12:15 PM EDT
By: WJAC Web Staff
ALTOONA, Pa. -- An area veterans' hospital has announced plans to close its intensive care unit and move away from emergency department care, in a transition to become an urgent care facility.
Officials with the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona announced in a release on Wednesday that following a three-year evaluation and review of service demands and referrals, the decision to make the changes was made.
Officials said the four-bed ICU will close April 21, the same day the emergency department will cease round-the-clock operations, and move to operate as an urgent care facility from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
The medical center’s changes are part of a shift in the way care is provided to veterans, officials said. Recently the hospital has increased access to primary care, community-based outpatient clinics and specialty care, telehealth, outpatient rehabilitation and home-based primary care.
"Our goal is to ensure veterans have the appropriate delivery of critical care available to them," William H. Mills, Altoona VA medical center director, said in the release. "We have high standards and believe in providing the best health care to Veterans. We will continue that high quality standard with our staff and in partnership with local community hospitals to provide critical care services to local veterans."
Officials said that for several years veterans with complex medical issues, like those who suffered from heart attacks and strokes, have been transferred to other facilities in the area that provide a higher level of care.
Officials said based on those transfers, the processes are already in place to care for patients requiring critical care. The VA's inpatient Acute Care Unit will remain open.
A few employees will be affected by the charges and they are being offered reassignments to support other growing programs at the facility, officials said.