Medical Education

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Policies

Confidentiality and Privacy

Confidentiality

All medical care and counseling through Weill Cornell Medicine Student Health Services (SHS) and the Student Mental Health Program is confidential. Health records are completely separate from all other university records. In the event of treatment with another physician or hospital, SHS will share relevant health information for continuity of care. Otherwise, SHS will not release any information about you without your permission, except as authorized or required by law, or in our judgment as necessary to protect you or others from a serious threat to health or safety.

Privacy

Weill Cornell Medicine Student Health Services is committed to preserving the rights and privacy of our patients. State and federal laws such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) protect your medical information from being shared without your consent. Weill Cornell Medicine Student Health Services does not sell, share or release your sensitive health information, and only utilizes information necessary for payment, treatment and operations.

Students are encouraged to review Weill Cornell’s Notification of Privacy Practices.

Release of Information

We need your permission to share information about your health care at Weill Cornell Medicine Student Health Services with someone else (e.g., a parent or other family member, a partner, a health care provider outside SHS) or if copies of records are desired. Contact SHS for additional information.

Email and Other Communication

Email Communications

Student Health Services sends out a monthly email blast to all students, with important announcements, deadlines and updates. These emails are sent to your official Weill Cornell email. Students are advised to read these messages, as we do not generate printed/mailed announcements.

Limitations of Email

SHS is committed to the privacy of the people who rely on us for care and the confidentiality of their health information. State and federal laws also protect the confidentiality of this sensitive information. Students need to be aware that:

  • Email cannot be considered a confidential mode of communication.
  • Email should not be considered a replacement for direct, face–to–face contact with a provider.
Guidelines for the Use of Email

To help insure privacy, patients and clients are cautioned against sending sensitive, detailed personal information to SHS via email. SHS staff members limit the use of email communication to:

  • addressing general questions
  • appointment reminders
  • announcements and deficiency reminders

A healthcare provider may recommend that a student make an appointment for more complex concerns. Please be aware that copies of email communication may be placed in your confidential medical record.

Email should never be used to convey information of an urgent nature to SHS. SHS cannot guarantee prompt responses to email messages. Students who have an urgent physical or mental health concern (about yourself or someone else) can call SHS for telephone consultation with a healthcare provider.

Exposure Policy

Students with blood-borne pathogen or chemical exposures should review the emergency instructions, and contact Student Health Services: (646) 962-6942.

All incidents are investigated by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

Resources

Environmental Health and Safety: Program Manual

Financial Policy

Most services at SHS are provided at no additional cost to students beyond an annual health services fee from Weill Cornell Medical College and the Graduate School of Medical Sciences. Any service requested and provided outside of the SHS (examples include, but are not limited to, physician consultation, the processing of a laboratory specimen, imaging referral and physical therapy) will be billed to the patient’s health insurance plan directly by the rendering provider. As a service to patients, SHS collects and shares insurance information with our laboratory pathologists, for specimens originating in the Student Health Center.

Students are ultimately responsible for all financial aspects of their care, regardless of insurance coverage. Any disputes regarding payment are between the student, their insurance company and the rendering provider - not SHS.

Students are advised to learn the details of their health insurance, as SHS does not verify coverage nor submits bills/claims.

Health and Immunization Requirements

All students must have an intake history and physical examination on file at SHS, completed at time of enrollment.

The following additional requirements must also be met:

Measles, Mumps and Rubella

New York State Public Health Law requires post–secondary students to demonstrate immunity to measles, mumps and rubella. Our institution prefers demonstration of proof of immunity by serologic titer. Any student who is not immune by titer (e.g. negative, inconclusive or equivocal) will require boosters (two doses of MMR vaccine). Under NYS Public Health Law, students failing to demonstrate immunity, or in process of receiving the vaccines within 30 days of the start of classes, may be placed on administrative leave and prevented from participating in academic activities until they meet our requirements.

If you are allergic to any of the vaccines or vaccine components, you will need to provide documentation from a physician not related to you.

There is no "moral objection" permissible for vaccination for healthcare workers. If you have had titers drawn previously, provide copies of the lab reports to Student Health Services in addition to your immunization record. Neither documentation of being "immune" without actual lab reports, nor clinical history of disease, is sufficient proof of immunity.

Hepatitis B

The hepatitis B vaccine will be offered to all students free of charge at Student Health Services. We recommend students begin the three-injection series upon arrival at the medical college if they have not received the vaccine previously. We will check for proof of immunity by serologic titer at the time we check for measles, mumps, and rubella if there is no prior lab report of immunity. Students who are not found to be immune may need to repeat the three-dose series and/or undergo additional testing to exclude chronic infection with hepatitis B.

Meningitis

New York State Public Health Law requires all college and university students to complete a meningitis information response form. It acknowledges that you have received information about meningococcal meningitis and the availability of a vaccination. You are not required to have the vaccination. If you did not receive meningococcal meningitis information or the response form in your SHS pre-matriculation information packet, please contact the SHS.

Additional Requirements

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guideline for infection control in healthcare personnel, and working agreements with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the following additional vaccines and screenings are required:

Varicella

A positive titer indicating immunity, or two doses of vaccine at least 30 days apart after your first birthday, are preferred. Clinical history of disease is not sufficient proof of immunity for our campus. Titers may be checked at SHS if there is no lab report or vaccine history provided with registration materials.

Tetanus–Diphtheria (Td) or Tetanus–Diphtheria–Acellular Pertussis (Tdap)

We require completion of the childhood series and a booster within the last 10 years. If you have not received Tdap, you will be offered it at SHS to confer additional protection against pertussis (whooping cough).

Tuberculin Skin Test (TST aka PPD)

All students will be required to undergo two tuberculin skin tests on initial arrival to the medical college, and annual testing subsequently. Additional testing may be needed depending on disease exposure during your course of study. Students who already have a positive skin test will be required to submit an x–ray report, in English dictated by a radiologist, and information regarding previous treatment. You may be asked to complete a periodic assessment to determine that you are free from symptoms of tuberculosis. Please note that previous immunization with BCG (Bacille Calmette–Guerin) is not a contraindication to testing if you have not been found to be PPD-positive in the past.

Students who are found to develop a new positive skin test will undergo additional testing and counseling at SHS.

Periodic Health Assessments

Students that engage in patient contact will undergo an annual health review and yearly tuberculosis screening.

Influenza

It is strongly encouraged for all students in the health professions, and students in the clinical years will be required to document accepting or declining the vaccine. It is provided free of charge during the fall and early winter (assuming supplies are adequate).

SHS follows all applicable Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Policies and Procedures.

Infection Control Policy

Students in the patient care setting are at increased risk of acquiring and transmitting communicable diseases to patients, visitors and colleagues. Student Health Services works closely with various campus offices to ensure that students are appropriately trained, screened, treated, and when necessary, removed from patient contact.

All students with patient contact must complete infection control training periodically. Infection control training is provided by the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, as well as through an online course in infection control, and covers numerous topics including universal precautions, clinical safety and blood-borne pathogen training. Students may be required to undergo additional training modules by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. All students with patient contact will also undergo respirator training and fit–testing, also through the Office of Environmental Health & Safety.

Students exposed to communicable illness, or with signs and symptoms of communicable illness, are advised to set up a visit with Student Health for evaluation, and, if appropriate, prophylactic treatment. Student Health will notify public health authorities or the hospital epidemiology department as needed, so that exposed patients can receive appropriate evaluation and treatment. Students may require temporary restriction of patient contact/academic duties, and the Director of Student Health will coordinate with the student, their supervisor and/or appropriate associate dean or director to ensure that they do not pose a hazard to the Cornell community.

Conditions that require evaluation and/or treatment include:

  • tuberculosis exposure
  • staphylococcal infection or carriage
  • group A streptococcal infection
  • gastroenteritis
  • blood-borne pathogen exposure
  • varicella exposure
  • scabies exposure
  • lice exposure
  • chronic infectious disease
  • influenza
  • meningococcal disease
  • conjunctivitis
  • other communicable disease and/or symptoms such as herpes simplex, herpes zoster, measles, mumps, rubella, unexplained fever, unexplained cough, pertussis, rash or open sores, and fingernail bed disease

Influenza Vaccination

All Weill Cornell Medicine students are required to participate in our annual influenza vaccination program, conducted in conjunction with NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital. Influenza vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your colleagues and our patients from influenza disease.

Influenza vaccination will be offered free-of-charge to all students when available – usually in the fall. Vaccination begins as soon as the vaccine is available, and will continue through the end of the influenza season.

Students may receive the vaccine from other sources, such as rotation hospitals, other physicians, pharmacies or other public events. Students are advised to forward copies of any relevant immunization records to Student Health for inclusion in their medical record.

Students declining vaccination may be required to participate in an educational program, and must complete a form declining vaccination.

Additional updates will be available here during the actual vaccination campaign.

Medical Excuse Policy

General Policy

Weill Cornell Medicine Student Health Services does not provide excuses for routine illnesses, injuries and mental health problems that may lead to missed educational activities. Cornell University expects that students are honest with their faculty regarding their ability to complete work, and faculty are expected to work on these issues with students. Faculty members who have concerns about attendance issues should notify the appropriate associate dean or program director for assistance.

Students with Illness in Patient Care Settings

In order to prioritize patient safety, students are discouraged from participating in direct patient contact when seriously ill. If a student is determined to have symptoms or conditions that require them to be restricted from direct patient contact, the Director of Student Health will work with the student and supervising faculty to determine appropriate restriction of duties and any necessary "return to work" evaluation. The student and their supervisor will determine the need and manner for making up missed work.

The following signs and symptoms of communicable illness should prompt students involved in patient care to receive evaluation at SHS: persistent cough, fever, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and weeping red eyes.

Assistance with Serious, Ongoing Illness or Injury

When a student is hospitalized or has a serious, ongoing illness or injury, with the student’s consent, the Director of Student Health (or Director of the Student Mental Health Program) will communicate with the appropriate staff in charge of the student’s educational program, and remain available to discuss matters of health leave or accommodation. Medical students with ongoing illness or injury as a result of infectious agents or occupational hazards are reminded to contact the Associate Dean for Student Affairs (refer to the Student Handbook - "Effects of Infectious and Environmental Disease or Disability on Medical Student Learning Activities").

If professors or instructors request that you present a health or medical excuse from Weill Cornell Medicine Student Health Services, please print a copy of the WCMC Medical Excuse Policy for them. If you have ongoing concerns related to their request, please contact your academic advisor or dean’s office.

Students are advised to review the attendance policies and procedures in their academic program’s student handbook.

Medical College Student Handbook

Medical Records

Your Weill Cornell student health record is independent of all other university records. It is confidential, and only accessible by Student Health staff and individuals involved in your direct clinical care. The following items are included in your health record:

  • completed Student Health forms
  • copies of forms completed at or by SHS staff
  • any appointments and treatments you’ve received at SHS
  • email communications
  • imaging reports
  • immunization summaries
  • lab reports
  • phone conversations
  • any documents received from other doctors or facilities
  • any information release forms you’ve signed

Paper medical records, for students who graduated prior to July, 2014, are held in a secure storage facility until they are ready for destruction. Records are destroyed seven years after separation from the institution.

All health records for students who enrolled July, 2014 and onward are kept in the campus enterprise electronic medical record system.

The law protects the privacy and confidentiality of your records. Records are not released to third parties without a signed, written release of information.

Students requiring records are advised to call the office.

Contact Student Health Services

Contact Us

Phone: (646) 962-6942
Fax: (646) 962-1491

Locations

Mailing Address

Student Health Services
1300 York Ave., Box 258
New York, NY 10065

Clinical Location

230 East 69th St., Suite 2BB
(Between 2nd and 3rd Ave.)
New York, NY 10021

Office Hours

Monday – Friday: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m., 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Closed weekends and university holidays 

Students are encouraged to call ahead rather than walk in for visits, as provider schedules are subject to change due to campus obligations.

After-Hours

Answering Service: (646) 962-6942

Staff

Edgar Figueroa, M.D, M.P.H.
Director of Student Health
efiguero@med.cornell.edu

Bernadette Abaya, B.S.N., M.P.A., R.N.
Senior Nurse Administrator
bca2001@med.cornell.edu

Richard Friedman, M.D.
Director, Student Mental Health Program
(212) 746-5775

Office of Admissions Yasmine G. Reeder 445 East 69th Street
Room 104
New York, NY 10065 (212) 746-1067

Office of Medical Education 1300 York Avenue, Room C-118 New York, NY 10065 (212) 746-1050