Urgent Medical Concerns

Medical Services assists Columbia students with both primary and urgent medical concerns. While we encourage all students to make an appointment with their primary care provider (PCP) for routine medical care and illnesses, there are times when a sudden, serious illness or injury may require immediate care.

Upon your arrival:

  • Sign in at the Kiosks or complete a brief reason for visit form at the reception area. 
  • If you are experiencing an acute condition (e.g., chest pain, shortness of breath, or severe abdominal pain), you should inform the assistant immediately at the desk.

Students are seen in order of severity of illness, which may mean you might wait  to see a clinician. During our peak ours hours from  (11 a.m. - 3 p.m., and after 5 p.m.) you may experience what feels like a considerable wait.   Your cooperation and patience are greatly appreciated.

We encourage you to makean appointment on-line with your PCP or one of his/her team members. Rarely, students have conditions that cannot be fully evaluated or treated at Medical Services. In these instances arrangements are promptly made for you to be transferred to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital Emergency Room or you may be given a referral to see a specialist located outside of Columbia Health.

Students should be familiar with their insurance coverage for emergency care.


After Hours Emergencies and Same-Day Health Concerns

  • Dial 911 if you are off campus or Public Safety at (212) 854-5555 if you are on campus. 
  • Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital Emergency Room at 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue is the nearest emergency room to the Morningside campus, and is open 24 hours a day.
  • If you have an urgent concern after clinical hours, contact the Clinician-on-call at (212) 854-7426. Your concern will be assessed by one of our expert telephone triage specialists and recommendations for care will be provided. If there is any difficulty with contacting our after-hours triage line at (212) 854-7426, you may also call (855) 779-7132 to speak with a triage specialist.

Laboratory Services

Many laboratory tests for routine medical conditions are completed on-site in the Medical Services laboratory. Specialized testing is sent to an off-site laboratory (LabCorp) and is subject to co-payments and fees determined by your insurance carrier.

Radiology Services

X-rays and other types of diagnostic imaging are usually performed at a nearby location of West Side Radiology, and the cost to the student depends on their individual insurance coverage.


Medical Services visits are covered by the Columbia Health and Related Programs Fee. For those students who have not enrolled in the Columbia Health Program, a fee will be charged per visit. For more information about the costs for care, go to Fees.

Insurance Coverage

Medical Services serves as the primary care provider for all students who carry the Columbia Student Medical Insurance Plan (Columbia Plan) and also for all students enrolled in Columbia Health.

All visits to Medical Services, including same-day walk-ins, are made available to students enrolled in Columbia Health.. There is no limit to the frequency or total number of on-campus medical visits. Visits to outside specialists, if necessary, should be arranged in consultation with your Primary Care Provider who may offer a referral.  Outside specialists within the Aetna network, if needed, are covered under the Columbia Plan. A referral is required for all visits to outside providers, and is required in advance of the visit so please plan accordingly.

To obtain a referral, schedule an appointment to be evaluated by your PCP. Referrals are written at the discretion of providers at the time of your visit, based on your medical condition.

Students who have their own medical insurance will be covered for medical services as determined by their individual carrier.

Last updated December 08, 2016