Getting Medical Care
Student Health Services offers outpatient primary care to all eligible enrolled students at Caltech regardless of the medical insurance the student carries. Bills are not sent to the student's insurance company. Medical care provided at the health center is FREE.
Student Health Services should be students' first stop for health-related concerns or questions.
Student Wellness Services is able to provide urgent medical care during open hours. Please call ahead if possible to improve our ability to accommodate your urgent medical condition.
We can assess and treat:
- Abdominal pain
- Emergency contraception
- Lacerations (cuts requiring stitches)
- Urinary tract infections
Student Health Services does not have emergency services since we have no in-house lab or radiology services. However, we can urgently refer you to community Urgent Care Centers or for Urgent Orthopedic services for further evaluation and management.
Emergency situations are life-threatening or cause impairment (e.g. difficulty breathing for any reason, severe asthma, severe allergic reaction with throat swelling, unconsciousness or unresponsiveness, major injury with obvious fracture, open chest wound, spinal or neck injury, overdose, etc.).
For emergencies, call campus safety at (626) 395-5000 or call 911. BE PREPARED to say exactly where you are and what is wrong. You will be taken to the nearest hospital emergency department.
Please see the section on urgent care and emergencies after hours.
Before your visit:
- Please arrive 5 minutes before your appointment time, so the medical assistant can take your vital signs and your appointment can start on time!
- If you check in more than 5 minutes past your appointment time, you may be asked to reschedule, otherwise, please understand that your visit may still have to end at the scheduled time.
- If you do not have an appointment, inform the front desk staff when you arrive.
- Check in at the computer kiosk with your Caltech ID card and then have a seat in the waiting room until your last name is called.
- If your insurance has changed since your last visit, please inform the front desk.
- Vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, temperature, and weight) are routinely taken for most medical appointments. If you do not want your weight measured or know your current weight, please inform the health staff.
- You may be instructed to return to the waiting room until an examination room is available.
- Your vital signs are being reviewed by a provider. Occasionally, a patient may be called in out of order of arrival based on information a provider is reviewing, we appreciate your patience.
During your visit:
- Be prepared to answer questions about your medical condition(s).
- An examination will be done and your medical provider will discuss your diagnosis and treatment plan.
- Do not hesitate to ask questions about your care during your visit.
After your visit:
- You may need a lab draw which can often be done at Student Wellness Services or ordered at a local Labcorp station at a pharmacy such as Walgreens
- You may need medications, please let your provider know which local pharmacy you prefer to pick up from
- If you are unable to afford over-the-counter medications, please let your provider know - we may be able to provide some
- Please let your provider know if you would like a paper summary printed out or a secure message sent through the health portal
- If you would like to set up a follow-up phone visit or clinic visit, your provider can help you with that at the end of your visit
- Medical providers at Student Health Services are trained in primary care
- If you have the Caltech Anthem Student Advantage insurance, you can self-refer to specialists in the community
- If a specialist requires a referral note, please set up an appointment with Student Health Services
- If you need assistance with finding a specialist, please set up an appointment with Student Health Services
- If you think you need a specialist, but have never addressed your medical concern, please set up an appointment with Student Health Services
For further information, visit the Services Available page.
The healthcare system can seem complex and confusing, but we're here to help you. Besides making a phone or clinic appointment for a medical condition, you can also make an appointment for us to help you navigate a specialty referral.
During an appointment with any provider:
- Be prepared for your appointment. The medical provider will ask you questions about your illness, medical history, family history, and medications. Be ready.
- Do not hesitate to ask questions! The only way you can take care of yourself is if you understand what is going on.
- Don't be embarrassed- really, we've seen it all. Your medical provider is able to address your concerns regarding sexual matters (including contraception, sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs) and physical symptoms of your anal/genital regions), mental illness and suicidality, and alcohol/drug use or any other sensitive subjects.
- Advocate for yourself. Let your medical provider know your specific requests and concerns. When we know what logistics you're dealing with, we can help you discover solutions that work for you.
- Seek another opinion if you are dissatisfied or still have questions. It is reasonable to see another medical provider for another evaluation, whether it is at the Student Health Services or with an outside provider. This may provide some reassurance or provide a different way to approach a medical condition.
If you are not satisfied with your healthcare, ask questions! Everyone will try to assist you as best they can.
Sometimes waiting is inevitable. Our staff works to minimize wait times while providing excellent care to all students who come to Student Health Services.
The three most common reasons for having to wait even if you have a scheduled appointment are:
- Another student has an urgent problem needing immediate attention: for example, someone is bleeding from an accident.
- The patient scheduled before you arrived late, but still required their full time allotment for care.
- The patient scheduled before you has a complicated medical problem that takes more than the time allotted.
Thank you for your patience as our health services staff does its utmost to provide quality care to all students.
We do not provide this service.
Student Wellness Services does not routinely provide medical excuse notes or visit verification for students who miss class or assignments due to minor illnesses or injury. Students experiencing illness or other health conditions are encouraged to seek treatment at Student Wellness Services, where the illness or injury can be assessed and treated. If a student is moderately to severely ill, contagious, or is otherwise advised to avoid class, a clinician may, with student permission, communicate this to the deans' office. The deans may assist students by supporting academic accommodations or extensions; see the deans' office website for relevant policies around academic extensions for medical reasons.
Students experiencing minor illnesses, allergies, and injuries are encouraged to directly contact their instructors or teaching assistants and request any extensions or flexibility with coursework.
In the event a student experiences an ongoing health concern that impacts their academic ineligibility, Student Wellness Services clinicians may, with student permission, consult with the deans' office for the purposes of medical incomplete grades or a voluntary medical leave. Students who have not been under the care of a Student Wellness Services clinician or who present with only a historical account of illness or health concern will not receive a recommendation from Student Wellness Services.
Student Wellness Services does not perform clinical assessment, diagnosis, or documentation for disabilities. Students who wish to pursue academic accommodations for a disability are encouraged to contact Caltech Accessibility Services for Students (CASS) to learn about registration and requirements. Student Wellness Services can provide referrals to appropriate clinicians in the community, if desired.