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Penn Highlands Realigns Walk-In Clinics

Penn Highlands Healthcare recently announced a change at the Penn Highlands Elk Ridgway campus at 104 Metoxet Street, Ridgway, which will make access to primary health care easier and more affordable.

The system has rebranded the long standing and popular walk-in clinic at that location to now be called QCare Ridgway. This change aligns the Ridgway center with other QCare centers in Emporium and St. Marys.

Penn Highlands Elk pioneered the QCare model many years ago to give patients a low-cost, efficient and convenient center to receive non-emergency medical care. The QCare brand will be incorporated system-wide as Penn Highlands opens walk-in clinics in additional locations in DuBois and Philipsburg in 2015.

The hours at QCare Ridgway, which is located on the first floor and accessible through the side entrance, will remain open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. It will be closed on holidays. Office hours for all the QCare locations vary. In Emporium, QCare is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In St. Marys, QCare is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

QCare provides a large list of urgent and primary medical care services and no appointments are required. The centers accept most major insurance plans and convenient co-pay options are available. Penn Highlands officials cite this as one of the major differences between the previous set up and the QCare model. Co-pays for patients at QCare are more in line with what one would pay at a physician office as opposed to the co-pay for an emergency room visit.

Services provided at QCare include the treatment of issues like flu, fever, colds, infections, sore throats, earaches, rashes, sinus problems, insect bites and tick bites. Other minor issues associated with burns, sprains, bumps, bruises, cuts and abrasions can also be treated quickly and appropriately at QCare.

Patients needing physical exams, including those required for commercial and general drivers license or school and sports physicals, are also done at QCare.

According to officials, another benefit of visiting a QCare for care is the connection between a patient's medical record at the clinic and their primary care physician's office. Consistency and continuity of care is preserved when a patient sees a Penn Highlands physician in their office or at QCare. If a patient does not have a primary care provider, QCare staff are able to provide information about some of the new physicians entering the Penn Highlands Elk network who can care for patients of any age.

Five new primary or pediatric care providers entering the region in August include Shujayat Ali, MD, Pediatrics, located in the PH Elk Medical Office Building, Suite 340, 761 Johnsonburg Road, St. Marys; Anita Pandey, MD, Internal Medicine, located in the PH Elk Medical Office Building, Suite 220, 761 Johnsonburg Road, St. Marys; Francesca "Franki" Crawford, PA-C, located in the PH Elk Medical Office Building, Suite 220, 761 Johnsonburg Road, St. Marys; Grace W. Kao, MD, Internal Medicine, located in the PH Elk Medical Office Building, Suite 240, 761 Johnsonburg Road, St. Marys; and Alan Arthur, MD, Family Practice, located on the PH Elk Ridgway Campus, 104 Metoxet Street, Ridgway.

Convenient access is also available at all three QCare locations if a laboratory test or x-ray services are needed.

Penn Highlands reminds patients to dial 9-1-1 if they or a family member are experiencing life threatening symptoms or conditions. Life threatening symptoms or conditions require immediate assessment by emergency personnel and transport to the nearest emergency room. These symptoms and conditions cannot be treated at QCare