Emergency Instructions for Columbia University Medical Center Students Enrolled in the Student Health Service
- For life-threatening emergencies, call 911 and go directly to the nearest emergency room. If this
occurs when the SHS is open, have a friend call 212-305-3400 so that we can assist you with follow-up.
- If you or a friend have an immediate concern about suicide, call our SHS number at 212-305-3400 and
request to speak with a Mental Health Clinician. You may also call the suicide
hotline at 800-273-8255 or walk yourself or friend to the Emergency Room.
- If you have experienced a sexual assault, or a non-sexual assault with possible
blood/infectious body fluid exposure, go immediately to the emergency room for evidence collection and possible
post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV - ideally begun as soon as possible after exposure. This does
not obligate you to file a police report. If you are enrolled in the Student Health Service, please call 212-305-3400 to report the situation to SHS or the clinician
on call so that we may assist you with follow-up.
- Click here for Occupational Blood/Infectious Body Fluid
For all other emergencies after hours, call 212-305-3400 (after # press 7) to reach the
24-hour clinician on call. We can give you advice, call in indicated prescriptions, and often save you a trip
to the emergency room. (About 10% of students who call need to be sent to the emergency room. Of those who go,
about 10% are admitted.)
If you go directly to an emergency room (co-pay $50 if you are not admitted), and the emergency room refers you
to another physician for follow-up, you MUST get a referral from the Student Health Service first, or your referral
will NOT be covered by the Student Insurance Plan. Call 212-305-3400 during business hours to make an appointment
to get your referral.
Occupational Blood/Infectious Body Fluid Exposures are an Emergency - Here & Away!
A blood-borne pathogen exposure is not JUST a needle stick, but the exposure of non-intact
skin or any mucosal surface to blood or other potentially infectious body fluids (e.g., semen, vaginal
secretions, breast milk, CSF, peritoneal or pericardial fluid, saliva in dental procedures, or any fluid contaminated
Follow these Steps Immediately!
- Immediately cleanse the injury (soap and water) and
- Immediately notify your resident, preceptor or attending to arrange for prompt counseling and testing of the source patient for HIV, HCV & Hepatitis B. Getting the source patient tested can potentially save you a month of prophylaxis, drug side effects, and many months of anxiety. Getting
the source patient tested can potentially save you a month of prophylaxis, drug side effects, and many
months of anxiety.
- Let your resident know you are expected to seek medical attention immediately:
- At the Student Health Service if you are at Columbia and enrolled in the SHS
- At the Emergency Room if the SHS is closed or you are not enrolled in the SHS
- If you are on an away rotation, the Occupational Health Service or Emergency Room
of that hospital
- If you are on an away or have to use the ER at CUMC, notify the SHS (days) or the clinician on call that an exposure has occurred (212-305-3400); we will be responsible for follow-up. If you are away, we will send you a questionnaire to fill out.
If you have the SHS insurance, there will be no charge to you!
- If you have the student insurance, the ER bill will be paid by Chickering. SHS will pick up the
- Use your insurance card for any medications prescribed. SHS will reimburse you for the copays.
- If you have other insurance, you must pay for labs in the SHS and then submit your bills to your insurance for payment. SHS will reimburse you for copays on ER bills and prescriptions.
- Save your bills, explanation of benefits, and receipts for reimbursement.
- Remember, if you have not notified us, we will not know to reimburse you.
Remember the acronym CITES
Clean, Inform (need for Immediate evaluation), Testing of source patient,
Evaluation at SHS (or ER if SHS closed or you are away).
Please contact Dr. Bernitz (email@example.com; 212-342-3941) or Jackeline Paulino (firstname.lastname@example.org; 212-342-3942) with questions about reimbursement or procedures.