Mental health referrals
If you would like assistance connecting with a mental health provider off campus, we can help.
Please visit our Finding Off-Campus Mental Health Providers page to learn how to find a counselor/therapist and/or a prescriber of psychotropic medications who meets your needs and preferences.
We recommend seeing or speaking with a Cornell Health medical provider before scheduling an appointment with an off-campus provider. Keep in mind that some specialists require a referral from a primary care provider before seeing you, so a visit to Cornell Health may be an important first step in getting care.
A Cornell Health referral to a medical provider in the Ithaca area (or elsewhere) may be appropriate for the following reasons:
- If your physical or mental health needs require services beyond the scope of what we provide at Cornell Health (e.g., specialty care)
- If you want to see a specialist who requires a referral from a primary care provider before providing care
- If you prefer to receive primary medical care or counseling services off campus (or at home)
About specialty care referrals:
Cornell students have a variety of specialty health care needs that are outside the scope of what we can safely and effectively provide at Cornell Health. We provide primary care medical services and refer students to local and reginal providers for most low-frequency specialty services. Doing so allows us to connect students with clinicians who provide these services frequently enough to develop and maintain expertise with the required practices and procedures.
To discuss or request a medical referral:
- Talk with your Cornell Health medical provider, or
- Call 607-255-5155 and ask to be connected with a Referral Manager from our nursing team
Finding providers who participate with your insurance
When seeing a non-Cornell provider, Student Health Plan (SHP) members will get the best coverage by seeing an Aetna participating provider (i.e., in-network provider). For SHP members, there is typically a $25 copay for medical visits (tests and procedures will cost more), and a $10 copay for mental health visits.
SHP also provides coverage for non-participating providers, usually with a $400 plan year deductible and then a 30% co-insurance.
To find participating providers and facilities ...
- Find an Aetna participating provider
- Enter the zip code for where you want to receive care
- When prompted, select “Student Health Medical Plans / Open Choice PPO” as the plan type
- When you call to make an appointment, double check to make sure the provider is in-network with Aetna Student Health (Aetna's search results are occasionally out of date)
Visit Student Health Benefits to ...
If you need assistance, please contact Student Health Benefits at 607-255-6363.
*Please note that referrals are not required by SHP.*
Those with private insurance:
It's always a good idea to call your insurance company (the number will be on your insurance card) and ask the following questions about the provider you want to see:
- Does the office / facility participate with your insurance (i.e., is it an in-network provider)?
- If not, what are other options for in-network providers in the area?
- Is pre-authorization required for this visit or test?
- Is a referral or pre-authorization required from your home primary care provider?
- How much will your insurance cover, and how much will you be responsible for?
If we’re closed and you need immediate care ...
Please refer to our Emergencies & After-Hours page for information about accessing care at the hospital or an urgent care provider in Ithaca. You may also call us 24/7 for consultation about urgent concerns (607-255-5155).