Urgent Medical Concerns

Last reviewed: 6/15/2023

Medical Services assists Columbia students when a sudden, serious illness, or injury may require immediate care.

Urgent medical problems include sudden, serious and unexpected illness, injuries, or conditions which require immediate medical attention.

Most urgent, non-life threatening medical concerns can be evaluated at Medical Services during regular office hours. If you have a more significant emergency (severe chest pain, sudden shortness of breath, severe injury, etc.), call Public Safety at 212-854-5555 for assistance and no-cost ambulatory transport to the nearest emergency room through CUEMS.

If you are not able to book a same day appointment using the Patient Portal, please call 212-854-7426 and ask to speak with the nurse.

What to expect when you call for an urgent concern:

  • Please be prepared to speak with a health services assistant who will record your name, phone number and medical concern to provide to the nurse-on-call. Students experiencing an acute condition (e.g., chest pain, shortness of breath, or severe abdominal pain) should inform the staff immediately.
  • The nurse will return your call within 1 hour.  Please note that during busy times, this can be longer.
  • The nurse will speak with you and assess your concern, ask you about your symptoms and speak with a medical team member if necessary. The nurse and medical team will recommend the best way to get you the care you need.
  • If an urgent medical visit is advised, you will be scheduled to see a provider at medical services or at an urgent care or Emergency department near you.
  • If your condition does not require immediate care the nurse will assist you with scheduling a future appointment with your Primary Care Provider (PCP) or facilitate contact with your PCP for appropriate follow up.

In some cases, students have conditions that cannot be fully evaluated or treated at Medical Services. In these instances, arrangements are promptly made for students to be transferred to Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital Emergency Room or to be given a referral to see a specialist located outside of Columbia Health.

What will a visit cost?

The Columbia Health and Related Services Fee covers all visits to Medical Services. For students not enrolled in Columbia Health, a fee will be charged per visit.

For more information about the costs for care, read our Cost of Service page.

Know Your Coverage: Read your plan policy carefully to understand what services will be covered during an emergency before you need them.

After-hours Emergencies and Same-day Concerns

  • Off-campus, dial 911.
  • On-campus, call Public Safety at 212-854-5555.
  • The nearest emergency room is Mount Sinai Morningside Emergency Room at 113th Street and Amsterdam Avenue; it is open 24 hours a day.
  • If students have an urgent concern after clinic hours, contact the clinician-on-call at 212-854-7426. Our team member will assess your concerns and provide recommendations for care. If there is any difficulty with contacting our clinician-on-call, students may also call 855-779-7132 to speak with a triage specialist.