COVID-19 services update
Cornell Health’s in-person services are now limited to pre-screened urgent care needs, in keeping with CDC guidelines for Pandemic Operations. Other services are being offered by phone or virtual visit.
Please visit our Coronavirus News & Updates page for more details.
About Primary Care
Cornell Health offers primary care medical services for all enrolled students on Cornell’s Ithaca campus. [Learn more about our primary care model]
Primary care services include:
- Care for illnesses and injuries
- Care for non-urgent health concerns (e.g., skin problems, pain, sleep problems)
- Preventive check-ups and screenings
- Medication prescription and management
- Management of chronic health concerns
- Mental health resources and support, including behavioral health consultation
- Collaboration with other services including sexual health care, lab testing and x-rays, nutrition, physical therapy, and Counseling & Psychological Services
- Support for questions about your health overall, or any symptoms you may be having and are unsure the cause
Your Primary Care Provider (PCP) at Cornell Health
Each Cornell student is assigned a Primary Care Provider (PCP) who will coordinate your health care throughout your time at Cornell. Whenever you need an appointment with a medical clinician, we recommend scheduling with your PCP – or a member of their team – whenever possible to facilitate continuity of care.
All of the PCPs at Cornell Health are credentialed medical clinicians – physicians (MDs, DOs), nurse practitioners (NPs), and physician assistants (PAs) – who are supported by teams including nursing staff, clinical administrative assistants, and others.
How to get care
- Call 607-255-5155 (#3) during business hours
(we are not scheduling appointments online at this time)
- Urgent appointments – for medical issues which require immediate care
- Same-day appointments – for medical issues that require attention within 24 hours
- Routine appointments – for medical issues that are not immediate or urgent (our availability for routine appointment averages between 3 and 7 days, depending on the time of year)
Our primary care model
"Primary care" is defined as the provision of general and continuing medical care for patients within a health care system designed to serve a community. This approach to health care is aligned with a university environment, where an individual’s needs are integrated and require coordination with specialty care or community resources. Students benefit from a patient-centered, collaborative, and team-based approach because they can get the resources they need to find health and thrive. Population health research has demonstrated the benefit of this approach to our systems and communities by increasing quality and decreasing cost.
At Cornell Health, we use a primary care model that addresses the whole-person – their physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being, as well as cultural, linguistic, and social needs – using appropriate clinical and supportive services that include acute, chronic, and preventive care, behavioral and mental health, health promotion, and public health.
Every student needs a home base in Ithaca to meet their health care needs and goals, and that’s what they find at Cornell Health. We are not just a medical office: we are partners in health care with our students. We are certified by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) as a "Patient Centered Medical Home." Our model of health care delivery is designed to increase Cornell students' access to and appropriate utilization of the comprehensive, patient-centered, health care and wellness resources that support their academic and life experience.
Who is my Primary Care Provider (PCP) at Cornell Health?
To find the name of your PCP, log in to myCornellHealth and go to the "Profile" tab. Your PCP will be listed as your "Current Primary Care Clinician."
How do I schedule an appointment with my PCP?
When you schedule a medical appointment online in myCornellHealth, appointments with your PCP will be listed first as optional appointment times. (Exception: if you are seeking medical care for some specialty services, such as sexual health care or allergy care, appointments with other specialty providers may be listed instead.)
If you call to schedule an appointment (607-255-5155), you may request an appointment with your PCP.
Why does Cornell Health assign a PCP to every student?
PCP assignments are made to facilitate strong, trusting, and continuous relationships between students, their PCP, and their health care team.
We know that almost every student comes to Cornell Health for medical care during their time at Cornell, usually for a combination of acute needs and preventive services. Studies show that systems that promote strong PCP relationships lead to improved quality of care, and fewer individual and system costs.
Some students come to Cornell having a strong relationship with a PCP from home or from previous community. Having a PCP at Cornell is important to ensure that your health care needs are met while you’re in Ithaca, so students may transition their primary care from their home PCP to a Cornell Health provider. Our medical staff coordinate with previous treating providers, PCPs, specialists, and facilities to ensure we have the information to support the students in our care.
If for any reason you feel that you and your PCP are not a good match, we will do our best to help you connect with someone with whom you can be comfortable and confident. Please discuss your concerns with your provider, or contact Dr. Anne Jones, Director of Medical Services, at 607-255-5155 (press 8).
What is the role of my PCP, and my health care team, in my health care?
Your PCP is a health care provider who, over the course of your time at Cornell, can get to know your specific medical needs within the context of who you are as a person. The more you see your PCP – both for preventive care and acute care – the better we will be able to address your needs in a time frame that works for you.
We recommend scheduling medical appointments with your PCP whenever possible. However, we know that students have busy schedules, and that your needs may be urgent at times. If your schedule cannot accommodate a visit with your PCP, you will be offered appointments to best meet your scheduling and medical needs. First, we will aim to schedule an appointment with another clinician on your PCP’s medical team. If needed, we can also offer appointments on other teams and with other medical clinicians.
PCPs are part of medical teams located on Level 3, Level 5, and Level 7. Your medical team is determined by where your PCP is located. Team members – including nursing staff, behavioral health consultants, nutritionists, and clinical administrative staff – work together with the PCPs to support patient care. When appropriate, medical team members also collaborate with Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) staff (who are co-located on Levels 3, 5, and 7), as well as Cornell Health physical therapists.
The Specialty Services team, located on Level 4, is responsible for triage, immunizations, sexual health nurse visits, allergy services, and travel services. These nursing and administrative professionals can help you determine the first steps to take in a medical situation, discern the right appointment or professional who can help you, and can meet specialty needs.
Our Lab & X-Ray staff, located on Level 2, also support the work of our primary care providers.
How does my PCP help support my mental health?
Our PCPs recognize that students’ physical and mental health are integrally connected. It is not uncommon for a student to seek care for a physical condition, only to realize that the condition has a psychological source … or vice versa. Many conditions have a combination of physical and psychological sources and symptoms.
If you feel you need care, but don’t know where to start, schedule an appointment with your PCP. We can help determine what care and support is most appropriate for your needs. This may include connecting you with one of our behavioral health consultants, a CAPs counselor, a provider who specializes in sexual health care, disordered eating or alcohol use, or another appropriate provider.
Another way we help support students’ mental health is to screen patients at the beginning of medical appointments to identify mental health distress. Those indicating high levels of distress are referred to appropriate providers or resources.
We collaborate with our colleagues – within and beyond Cornell Health – to meet each person where they are, and ensure that each person has access to the care that is right for them.