Frequently Asked Questions

All FAQs

How do I make a medical appointment?

Use our secure appointment portal, Open Communicator, to make an appointment online, or call us at (212) 854-7426.

How do I find out my Primary Care Provider?

When you log into Open Communicator you will be able to see or change your Primary Care Provider. Using the website secure.health.columbia.edu you may log in and confirm your identity, and then able to edit your profile, which will enable you to determine or change your primary care provider.

Where is Medical Services located?

Columbia Health Medical Services is located on the 4th floor of John Jay Hall.

Why are there Clinical Care Teams in Medical Services ? Can I use any of them?

Each of the Clinical Care Team has physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses and support staff. Students are randomly assigned to a team. We encourage you to continue to plan your appointments within the same team for the best possible, continuous care. You can easily change your designated provider when you make an appointment through Open Communicator or by phone, but we encourage you to stay within one team as much as possible.

Staff biographies are available to learn more about your Primary Care Provider (PCP) and your practice group or identify others.

Can I be seen the same day at Medical Services?

There are appointments available every day for “same day service” within your practice group. Generally, you can search for “same-day” appointment up to 18 hours ahead of the appointment. You may also contact Medical Services starting after 8 a.m. if you’re unable to locate an available appointment online.

 

What can I do when I cannot schedule a same day or future appointment at Medical Services?

In the rare instance that you are unable to schedule a same day or future appointment please use Open Communicator and send a secure message to your provider. Our appointment system reserves some appointments every day for “same day services” and allows other appointments to be booked up to two weeks in advance.

What is the best way to contact my Medical Services provider?

Contact your provider by logging into Open Communicator and sending a secure web message by using the “Message” button.

How long do medical appointments last?

Most appointments last 20 minutes; however, women’s health appointments are 30 minutes.

What should I do if I need to see a medical provider when I am away from Columbia?

When you are away from Columbia and unable to come to Medical Services for an evaluation, you should call or send a secure web message on Open Communicator directly to your PCP. That way we are aware of your problem and can prepare a referral for you if necessary.

If it is an urgent problem you can be seen in the Emergency Room or an Urgent Care center without a referral.
 

What do I do if I am seen in the ER and they tell me to follow up with someone?

Even if the ER staff suggests that you should be seen by a specialist, you still need a referral if you are enrolled in the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan. The first step toward getting a referral is to contact your Primary Care Provider at Medical Services by calling or sending a secure web message.

Top Viewed FAQs

How do I make a medical appointment?

Use our secure appointment portal, Open Communicator, to make an appointment online, or call us at (212) 854-7426.

Can I be seen the same day at Medical Services?

There are appointments available every day for “same day service” within your practice group. Generally, you can search for “same-day” appointment up to 18 hours ahead of the appointment. You may also contact Medical Services starting after 8 a.m. if you’re unable to locate an available appointment online.

 

How is my Medical Services Provider assigned?

Your Medical Services Provider is randomly assigned to you when you first enroll at Columbia University.  However, you are welcomed to change your health care provider whenever you like simply by informing our front desk staff.

What is the difference between STI testing at Medical Services and HIV testing at GHAP? Can they both administer the tests?

HIV testing and counseling are performed by counselors through GHAP. You will be provided information specific to HIV/AIDS, how testing is done, and safe sex practices. You will also be given the opportunity to ask questions. STI testing is performed by a medical provider at Medical Services. Common STI tests include Syphillis, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea.

Do I need an appointment for emergency contraception?

Visit Medical Services during hours of operation if you need emergency contraception immediately or schedule a same day appointment with a Medical Services provider. Most emergency contraception must be started within 72 hours.

How do I get a prescription refilled?

Getting a prescription refilled depends on whether you’ve already been seen here and the type of medication you need.  If you are a new patient, first make an appointment with Medical Services for an evaluation. Returning patients can refill prescriptions by calling (212) 854-7426 or go online and send your health care provider a secured message with your request. 

Some prescriptions require visits with your Medical Services provider for renewal—make an appointment ahead of time to ensure you don’t run out of medications.

Where is Medical Services located?

Columbia Health Medical Services is located on the 4th floor of John Jay Hall.

What do I need to do to get vaccines?

First, know which vaccine(s) you need. Based on this information, you can either be seen directly at John Jay Hall, 4th Floor or make an appointment for an evaluation.

To make your appointment, schedule it via Open Communicator and select “vaccinations”. Follow the steps listed to identify if you need a nurse or a physician appointment. You can also call (212) 854-7426 to schedule an appointment or come see us at John Jay Hall, 4th Floor to make an appointment in person.

What to expect at your office visit with the acupuncturist?

Typically an acupuncturist will begin by taking a complete history by asking numerous questions about your primary complaint as well as more general health issues.  An acupuncturist physical exam may resemble a more conventional exam, including vital signs like weight, temperature and blood pressure.  It is also likely to include a more detailed examination and analysis of the pulse and tongue as well as abdominal palpation and facial diagnosis.  When the acupuncturist has arrived a working diagnosis, he or she will place you in a comfortable position to insert needles. you may be seated although it is more common to lie down.  Ten to 20 needles may be inserted although more or less is not uncommon.  Once you are comfortable, you will relax in the treatment room for 15 to 20 minutes checking on you periodically to ensure that you are still comfortable. 

How many treatments will it take to resolve my problem?

Most health problems take more than one treatment to resolve.  Expect to have four treatments before reassessment or an outside referral is given.  

By Topic

Sexual Health

What is the difference between STI testing at Medical Services and HIV testing at GHAP? Can they both administer the tests?

HIV testing and counseling are performed by counselors through GHAP. You will be provided information specific to HIV/AIDS, how testing is done, and safe sex practices. You will also be given the opportunity to ask questions. STI testing is performed by a medical provider at Medical Services. Common STI tests include Syphillis, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea.

Last updated July 27, 2017