Cornell Health, Weill Cornell partnership to support students

Through increased collaboration between Cornell Health and Weill Cornell Medicine, this spring two new partnerships – with another on the way – will enhance and expand services to the Ithaca campus community to better meet the needs of Cornell students.

“Since 2019 Cornell Health has been exploring ways to consult and collaborate with Weill Cornell Medicine around the health needs that lie outside the scope of what we can provide in primary care,” said Dr. Jada Hamilton, director of medical services and interim chief of clinical operations and services at Cornell Health. The focus has been around three specialty areas: radiology, OBGYN services and psychiatry, she said.

Last fall, Cornell Health began exploring a partnership opportunity for Weill Cornell Medicine radiologists to review X-rays for students on the Ithaca campus. This service went live earlier in March. More recently, Cornell Health began a facilitated referral service to Weill Cornell Medicine for students with OBGYN conditions that cannot be addressed in-house. In these instances, summaries of the physical exams conducted in Ithaca are used by New York City-based clinicians during telehealth consultations with students, which can be conducted from any private setting.

“It’s wonderful for the students we serve and our medical staff on the Ithaca campus to be able to connect with specialty services from a first-rate academic medical institution in New York City,” Hamilton said.

The ability to connect with Weill Cornell Medicine’s physicians via telehealth simplifies the referral process for students seeking specialty care for gynecological concerns.

Additional plans are in the works for Weill Cornell Medicine’s psychiatrists to begin offering support that expands the scope of psychiatric medication management on the Ithaca campus. Given the national shortage of psychiatrists, this collaborative approach, which maximizes primary care providers’ ability to prescribe psychiatric medications, has proven effective in making care more accessible.

“We are glad to support the Ithaca Campus in this way,” said Dr. Geraldine McGinty, the E. Darracott Vaughan, Jr., M.D. Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at Weill Cornell Medicine. “Cornell Health has provided popular clerkships for Weill Cornell Medical College students for many years. Now we are in the position to offer support to their primary care clinicians and build stronger ties between our campuses.”

Like health care providers everywhere, staff at Cornell Health and Weill Cornell Medicine rapidly expanded their capacity for online visits during the pandemic.

“With several years of telehealth experience under our belts, health care organizations are now able to leverage accessible and affordable care in new ways,” said Keri Greenberger, director of billing and finance at Cornell Health. “Our Cornell Health team has appreciated collaborating with Weill Cornell Medicine to advance the health and well-being of our students.”

Weill Cornell Medicine providers are in-network with most insurance plans, making these referrals cost-effective for students, while providing them with the holistic medical care they need.

“Our medical services are staffed by primary care clinicians trained in whole-person care, including short-term or episodic care, preventive care and screening, and minimally invasive clinical procedures such as IUD insertion, wart removal or care for minor lacerations,” Hamilton said. “Having access to Weill Cornell Medicine clinicians’ expertise extends the services that can be provided by Cornell Health and adds to the network of options for students in Ithaca when they need care outside the scope of primary care.” 

McGinty said Weill Cornell Medicine’s clinicians and staff are eager to evaluate how support in these three specialty areas impacts care for students. “We hope our efforts improve accessibility of services and enhance the health and well-being of the Cornell community,” she said.

Students with needs or questions related to specialty care can start by making an appointment with a Cornell Health clinician or by talking with a referral manager. They can also contact their insurance provider to learn about plan coverage and in-network providers. Students with questions about services available or received at Cornell Health can also utilize the Feedback Form in the footer of Cornell Health’s website.

Jennifer Austin is director of communications at Cornell Health.

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Rebecca Valli