Q: Who is eligible to use the Student Health Service?
A: All full time Weill Cornell Medical College and Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Science students who’ve paid the Student Health Fee
Q: What are your hours of operation?
A: We are open Monday to Friday, 8 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm. We are closed weekends and university holidays. Due to administrative obligations and vacation/sick days, there can be other closures – these will be announced by e-mail.
Q: Do I need to schedule an appointment to be seen?
A: With the exception of bloodborne pathogen or chemical exposures, students are encouraged to call ahead rather than walk-in for a visit at Student Health. Students walking in without an appointment may not be seen but will be offered an appointment time.
Q: Do I have to pay a co-pay at Student Health?
A: You do not need to pay anything beyond your Student Health Fee for most services provided at Student Health.
Q: I am going on an international trip. Can I receive travel vaccines at Student Health?
A: We do not stock travel vaccines at Student Health. Those anticipating international travel are advised to set up a pre-travel consultation at Student Health at least 6 weeks prior to traveling. At your consultation we can recommend locations/physicians who can offer travel vaccines.
Q: I used to get my birth control at my college health center. Can I get birth control at Student Health?
A: We do not have a medication dispensary at our campus health center. Students must fill their prescription at one of many local pharmacies, or mail-order pharmacy through their insurance plan.
Free latex condoms for males are available at Student Health.
Q: What vaccines are available at Student Health?
A: We only routinely stock the following: measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Varicella, hepatitis B, tetanus (Td and Tdap) and influenza. Students needing/requesting additional vaccines will need to see another health care provider.
Q: How long are medical records kept?
A: Medical records are kept on site at Student Health until 3 years after you graduate or leave the institution. They are then moved to an off-site secure storage location. Records may be shredded 7 years after graduation or leaving the institution.
Q: Do you use an electronic medical record and patient portal?
A: At this time, SHS does not use an electronic medical record or patient portal. Immunizations are tracked using an electronic application but summaries are printed and included in your physical record after you graduate or leave the institution.
FAQ: New Student Information
Q: Is it going to be a problem if I can’t get the forms in on time?
A: Our staff requires ample time to review your health information and plan appropriately for your first month of class when we are required to ensure that all students have appropriate immunity to infectious diseases under New York State Public Health Law. Getting the forms in late may result in registration holds that can delay the start of your program.
Q: I work at a hospital. Can I use an Occupational Health Report to meet my requirements?
A: An occupational health report is insufficient as it is a transcript. It is not proof of immunity. While you can certainly include it with your paperwork, we still require lab reports and completed forms to meet your requirements. If we are unable to see actual lab reports, you will have to have titers drawn at SHS at your expense.
Q: I had the chicken pox as a child. Do I really need a titer?
A: Yes. We require serologic immunity by titer and two doses of varicella vaccine administered 30 days apart after a negative titer. We do not accept disease history as proof of varicella immunity.
Q: I’ve received the BCG vaccine. Isn’t my tuberculin skin test (also called a TST or a PPD) going to be positive, and can’t I just provide an x-ray report?
Prior immunization with the BCG vaccine does not preclude testing for latent tuberculosis. If you have not been found to have a positive TST previously, you must still undergo tuberculin skin testing even if you’ve received BCG.
If you have been found to have a positive TST previously, we require a chest x-ray report dated AFTER your positive skin test, as well as information regarding treatment (that you accepted and completed, or that you declined it.) Finally your health provider must attest that you are free from signs and symptoms of tuberculosis (there’s a check box on the immunization record.) If you’ve had a blood test for TB performed, you may still submit those lab reports but we still require documentation of a skin test.
Q: I had a negative tuberculin skin test (also called TST or a PPD) placed recently. Do I need another one?
All students will undergo “two-step tuberculin skin testing” as recommended for health care workers, and we will count the TST you had before matriculation as the first step. You will undergo a second TST test at no charge to you at SHS. Students who did not receive an updated TST test before matriculation will undergo two-step testing (placement of two TSTs 1 to 3 weeks apart) at SHS, also at no cost to them.
Q: I have several ongoing health issues. Where should I send medical records?
Please have pertinent medical records sent to our mailing address; do not fax them. Students are responsible for all costs associated with medical records requests.
Q: I am a new student and I need refills of my medications. What should I do?
A: Please set up a visit at the health center. For refills of contraceptives we recommend students provide us with documentation of their most recent pelvic exam and pap smear.
For behavioral and psychiatric medications, such as ADHD medication, documentation from your treating clinician will be helpful in establishing the diagnosis, as well as previous treatment history. While the SHS physician may refill the prescription for a limited time, he may require one or more visits with the Director of Student Mental Health or other mental health professional.
Q: If I waive the student health insurance, can I still use Student Health Services?
A: YES! All students are required to pay the Student Health Services fee. This is a separate fee from the insurance fee. The SHS fee grants you access to our services irrespective of your insurance. We do not bill insurances for any of the routine services we provide. HOWEVER, all students are required to have health insurance. Anything that leaves our four walls (i.e. x-ray, blood test, referral, etc) IS billed to your insurance.
Q: I’m not sure of my insurance benefits. Can SHS call my plan to figure out what’s covered?
A: Due to the number of insurance plans students participate in, we are not responsible for verifying coverage of services. This means you may request a test and receive a bill because it is not covered by the insurance. YOU will be responsible for that bill. It’s important for you to learn what is and isn’t covered on whatever insurance you subscribe to, whether or not it’s the school’s plan.
Q: What if I need a referral to a specialist?
A: Our SHS physician will evaluate the need for a referral and direct you to the appropriate clinician. Many of the Weill Cornell faculty physicians participate in several insurance networks.
If you are not on the school insurance and are enrolled in an HMO/POS plan where you must designate a PCP for all referrals, you will need to identify a local physician in your plan to fill that role. At this time, the SHS Physician is not enrolled in any insurances and is not eligible to serve as a PCP.
Q: I received a bill for labs I had performed at SHS. Why am I being charged?
A: Student Health does not bill for tests. Any specimen sent to the lab will be billed to the student’s insurance. You should contact the billing party for questions about your bill. If there is an insurance error or oversite, please notify your carrier (or, in the case of students enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan, contact Gallagher Koster.) Please do not ignore medical bills.
Q: I had a needlestick or body fluid splash. What should I do?
A: Please review the Emergency Instructions found at: http://weill.cornell.edu/education/student/emerg_bloodborne.html
Q: I had an exposure to Tuberculosis. What should I do?
A: Set up a visit at Student Health. Students with exposure to known tuberculosis and a negative baseline skin test will undergo testing at an interval recommend by the CDC, with appropriate evaluation and treatment if the skin turns positive. Those with a baseline positive skin test will undergo screening for symptoms of active disease at 12 weeks post exposure.
Q: I’m afraid my symptoms may be contagious to patients. What should I do?
A: First, notify your supervisor that you will not be reporting for duty. If you have any of the following: persistent cough, fever, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, red and weeping eyes, set up a visit at Student Health.
Q: What happens if I develop a condition that requires me to miss time away from classes?
A: Students with conditions that pose a risk to patients will be restricted from patient care until they no longer pose a risk. Students in this situation will be advised to contact their program director or associate dean to determine how best to update their educational plan. Please review http://weill.cornell.edu/education/student/policy_absences.html
Q: What are my annual health requirements?
A: Students with patient contact are required to complete an annual health review, yearly tuberculosis screening and participate in our influenza vaccination program. Students must also undergo yearly respirator fit-testing.
Q: How often do I need tuberculosis screening?
A: At a minimum you will undergo tuberculosis screening yearly. Those working with TB or suspicious of TB exposure may need more frequent testing. Screening consists of a tuberculin skin test. Those with a positive test will be required to complete an annual symptom questionnaire.
Q: What is a respirator?
A: In the patient care setting, a respirator is a mask used to protect you from respiratory diseases such as tuberculosis or influenza. These are called PFR N95 masks, or “orange duckbills” Individuals requiring respirators must be appropriately FIT-TESTED to make sure they are wearing the right sized mask for their face size and shape.
Student Health Services provides medical clearance for fit tests and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety conducts the actual fit testing. Fit testing is required yearly. Students requiring fit testing or fit test records should contact the Office of Environmental Health & Safety at (646) WMC-SAFE.
Q: How often will I need a “flu shot”?
A: Influenza vaccination (aka “flu shots”) are offered yearly. The formula usually varies from year to year, and even when the formula stays the same, immunity is believed to wane.
Q: I need a health form completed for an away elective or a rotation. Can SHS complete the form?
A: Students can bring forms to SHS for review and completion. You must be up to date with all campus annual health requirements. Some forms may require a physical exam – you must schedule this visit. Forms are not completed on a walk in basis and can take up to 48 hours for completion.