- Primary care is basic or routine healthcare available at Caltech Student Health Services which includes health promotion, disease prevention, health maintenance, counseling, patient education, diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses in a medical office setting.
- It is provided as a service to all eligible enrolled Caltech students and is NOT dependent on enrollment in any insurance plan.
- There is no cost for the appointment but there may be cost for medications, laboratory tests, and x-rays which are obtained at outside facilities.
- Most common medical concerns can be diagnosed and treated. The most common reasons patients seek care are illness, injury, preventative care, and medical questions, but any health related concerns can be addressed.
- The medical care is provided by physicians and nurse practitioners, and medical assistant.
- If necessary, advice and instructions about receiving further diagnostic testing and specialist care can be given.
- For medical conditions that cannot be diagnosed or treated at Student Health Services, the student will need to seek care in the community and a referral will be provided.
- The health insurance carried by the student determines what/how much is paid for and which providers are covered in the "insurance network" and which providers are outside the "insurance network."
- The student should contact their insurance carrier to ask about details regarding referrals to specialists and specialty care.
- If the student has the Caltech United Healthcare Student Resources (UHCSR) health insurance plan, the student may schedule an appointment with a specialist without a referral. A list may be found at their website: https://www.uhcsr.com/
- Recommendations for specialists are based on prior experience of Student Health Services but the student may choose the specialist they would like to see.
- The specialist is independent of Caltech and has their own process for evaluation and treatment. If there are questions about the specialty care, the student may ask the specialist directly, seek out another specialist for consultation, or return to Student Health Services to discuss the concerns.
- If you would like to provide feedback regarding your specialist referral, the student may send a secure message to their provider through the online Student Health Portal.
- If a student is interested in seeing a specialist, please visit Student Health Services to obtain a list of local specialists and select the best one for you.
Note: It is the student's responsibility to make sure the provider is in your insurance network. You can call the office directly and inquire if they accept your insurance or check your insurance's website.
Preparing for your specialist visit:
- Write down your questions for your specialist visit
- Bring your photo ID and insurance card to your visit and be prepared for any co-payment. Cost varies from insurance to insurance.
- Arrive 10-15 minutes before your appointment time.
- If you would like Student Health Services to receive information from your community providers, please make sure you sign a record release form.
- Please address your billing concerns with the specialist's office.
- There are no x-ray or other imaging facilities at the Student Health Services.
- If an x-ray or imaging test is needed, the student is referred to an imaging center in the local area. An order for the imaging test is written for the student.
- You can expect part of the cost to be covered by your insurance, but some of the cost may need to be covered by you.
- The student must contact the imaging center to discuss details regarding setting up an appointment for the imaging test. Please inquire if any special preparation is needed for the imaging procedure (ex. fasting prior to procedure, having a full bladder prior to procedure).
- The student will be given instructions by the Student Health Services provider regarding how to follow up after the imaging test has been completed.
Student Health Services can collect and prepare specimens for most common laboratory tests. The specimens are sent to LabCorp, a large reference laboratory to process the specimens and obtain results. Students may be referred to a local LabCorp drawing station for laboratory test(s) requiring special collection and handling. The LabCorp drawing station is walking distance from the campus.
A small, limited number of simple laboratory tests can be processed at Student Health Services. They are the rapid throat strep test, urine pregnancy test, urine chemical analysis, vaginal discharge test, and skin test for fungus (current as of 04/2019). There is no charge for having these tests done at Health Services.
Laboratory orders generated by Non-Caltech medical staff are not processed at Student Health Services. The student is to proceed to the designated drawing station as directed by the staff of the ordering physician. If you have any questions, call (626) 395-6393.
For students with the Caltech United Healthcare Student Resources (UHCSR) insurance plan, please refer to the student medical plan summary on the Benefits website for covered services and coinsurance responsibilities. Students with other insurance plans should ensure that LabCorp is an in-network laboratory for their plan. Students with Kaiser insurance will be referred to the nearest Kaiser facility for lab tests. Students may choose to have discounted lab fees billed to their Bursar's account and pay directly (Note: Student Health Services does not bill insurance plans).
Laboratory services are available from 8:20 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (closed 12:00-1:00 p.m.), Monday to Friday. Most test results are available within 24-48 hours but this can vary depending on the specific test.
Results: Students will be notified via secure message about normal results, or asked to come in for an appointment to review any results requiring further follow-up. Students may request a copy of their lab results from the ordering provider or the front desk.
Please contact a provider through secure messaging or call and leave a message at (626) 395-6393 if you have any questions regarding laboratory services.
Covered Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) Testing and Preventative Medicine Testing:
Per the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Caltech UHC insurance plan covers some sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and baseline testing annually.
Covered STI testing includes:
- Gonorrhea / Chlamydia (for urine collection for Gonorrhea / Chlamydia testing, avoid urinating for at least one hour prior to providing urine.)
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
For a full list of Sexual Health services, please click here.
Preventative medicine laboratory testing include:
- Comprehensive metabolic panel
- Lipid panel with low density lipoprotein and high density lipoprotein (LDL/HDL)
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)
Fasting for a Blood Test:
During a blood test visit, blood is drawn from your arm and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
Before Your Blood Test
- Do not eat or drink anything (except water) for 8-12 hours before your test.
- It's important to drink plenty of water, because it is easier to draw blood when you are well hydrated. Do not drink any other liquids, this includes coffee, decaffeinated coffee, milk, tea or juice.
- Take your medication as directed, unless your healthcare provider has given you other instructions.
- Call Health Services at (626) 395-6393 if you have any questions.
What time should I come for blood draw?
- It is best to have your fasting blood test drawn between 8:20 a.m.-10:00 a.m. For your convenience, you can schedule an appointment through the Student Health Portal. Please login using your access.caltech.edu credentials.
Test results are usually available in a few days. You will be notified by your provider when to return for review or results will be sent by secure message.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptom Testing
If you are coming to Student Health Services for suspected urinary tract infection (UTI), you will be asked to leave a urine sample at the time of your visit.
- Other than the flu shot (influenza vaccine), vaccines are not available at Student Health Services.
- If a student needs a vaccine, a prescription order request is written and instructions are given on obtaining the vaccine.
- Generally, insurance plans are required to cover the cost of most vaccines (current as of 04/2019) at no cost to the student but the student should check with their insurance company.
- Other medical facilities and pharmacies may also carry and administer vaccines.
If you have the Caltech United Healthcare Student Resources insurance, United Healthcare has contracted with pharmacies to directly bill and administer vaccines. Please view the list of contracted pharmacies and vaccines here.
- The flu shot is administered in the Fall at campus clinics and throughout the flu season (Fall through Spring) at Student Health Services. Students will receive an announcement. Updates will be posted to the Flu Vaccine Clinic page.
- Preventative care and health screening services is available to all eligible enrolled students.
- The "routine physical" and "annual exam" is no longer performed as it has not been shown to improve health outcomes.
- There are preventative services and tests that are recommended based on age and sex. https://www.cdc.gov/prevention/index.html
- The conditions most applicable to young adults and college students are measuring blood pressure, screening for sexually transmitted diseases (STIs), screening for cervical cancer, obtaining recommended vaccines, maintaining a healthy weight, obtaining cholesterol screening, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, using sun protection, discussing alcohol and other drug use, stopping tobacco and nicotine use, screening for depression and other mental health conditions, and screening for relationship violence.
- Make an appointment at Student Health Services for a preventative medicine appointment by calling (626) 395-6393.
- Preventative services applies to a student with no symptoms. If you have symptoms or a specific concern, make a regular appointment for evaluation through the Student Health Portal.
For Caltech NCAA athletes who need a pre-participation evaluation prior to team activity participation:
If the athletic department or athletic trainers have instructed you to obtain a pre-participation evaluation, you may have this done with your physician at home or at Caltech Student Health Services.
If it is done at Caltech Student Health Services, please download the NCAA Pre-Participation Exam Forms (PDF). Please complete the entire History Form and the top demographic portion of the Exam Form. Call the Health Services front desk at (626) 395-6393 to book a 40-minute appointment with a physician necessary for the evaluation.
Due to NCAA requirements, these exams must be with a physician. If the appointment is not made correctly, it will be rescheduled. Do not go online to book this appointment. Please come to the appointment with the forms completed as instructed. Thank you.
The is no pharmacy at Student Health Services, however, we carry a limited supply of medication that can be dispensed to the student and billed to the student's bursar account. Student Health Services does NOT perform billing of health insurance, neither Caltech United Healthcare Student Resources nor any other private health insurance.
The nearest pharmacies in the area are:
- Allergy shots (desensitization immunotherapy) is administered at Student Health Services under the direction of the student's allergist.
- The student must be on a stable regimen and must have received regular injections at the allergist office for a period of time before injections can be done at Student Health Services.
- The student must bring the antigen solutions to Student Health Services for administration.
- The student must bring clear written instructions and authorization from their allergist's office.
- The student must make appointments and keep to the schedule of injections as per the allergist's office.
- Student Health Services allergy clinic policy will be reviewed and signed with the student at the initial visit.
- If there are questions, complications, or non-compliance with allergy injections at Student Health Services, the student will be referred to a local allergist for treatment.
- Sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and treatment can be done through Student Health Services. The specimen is sent to an outside reference laboratory for testing.
- Prescriptions are written for treatment and referrals to community providers are made if an injection medication is needed.
- Free condoms and other supplies are available at Student Health Services (in the lobby and restroom) and through the Health Advocates.
- Hormonal contraception prescriptions (the pill) are available. Birth control shots (Depo-Provera) can be injected if the patient brings in the medication. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are not placed at Student Health Services but the student can be referred outside of Caltech for this procedure.
- Cervical cancer screening (a PAP smear) is performed at Student Health Services and is generally recommended starting at age 21 and then every 3 years if results are normal.
- Cervical cancer screening is strongly recommended but NOT a prerequisite for receiving contraception services.
- Routine appointments should be scheduled for evaluation of any gynecological symptoms.
- Emergency contraception is available at Student Health Services.
For more information, please visit the Sexual Health page.
- Consultations regarding vaccines, travel medications, and travel advice can be made at Student Health Services.
- Prescriptions can be provided but travel vaccines are not available and the student will be referred for this service if necessary.
- The student should know their areas of travel, dates, purpose of travel, types of accommodations, and special activities and bring this information to the appointment along with their vaccination record. For latest travel vaccine requirements and recommendations, please see the CDC Travel site.
- Alternatively, the patient can make an appointment with the Healthy Traveler Clinic for a travel consultation for a fee of $44. The Healthy Traveler Clinic does not accept insurance. Payment can be completed through cash or credit card. Their office administers most travel vaccines.
- Pasadena Public Health Department is another resource for some vaccines. Visit their website for current prices and hours of operation. No insurance accepted.
If a student is utilizing Counseling Services, they may speak to their provider about receiving a psychiatrist referral.
If you have a diagnosis from a previous provider and have medical records substantiating the diagnosis, Student Health Services may be able to refill your medications pending review of medical records.
- If a student requests prescriptions for medication for treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), all records regarding previous testing, diagnosis, and treatment must be provided and reviewed before the prescription can be written.
- If the student has not been evaluated for this condition but suspects they may have this condition, testing will be required. Student Health Services does not perform neuropsychological testing for evaluation of attention deficit disorder. The student may seek testing with providers in the local community and bring the results to Student Health Services.
- The student must return to Student Health Services every month as only one month of medication will be prescribed at each visit.
- The medication is only to be used by the student and not to be given to other students.
Crutches are available to loan to students if indicated. They are available in different sizes to meet student needs.
The Convalescent Aid Society in Pasadena also provides free rental of medical equipment including crutches and wheelchairs.
A concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to either the head or the body that causes the brain to move rapidly inside the skull. A concussion changes how the brain normally functions. Most people who suffer a concussion recover completely but concussions can have serious and long-term health effects. Signs and symptoms of a concussion include headache, nausea, fatigue, confusion or memory problems, sleep disturbances, or mood changes; symptoms are typically noticed right after the injury, but some might not be recognized until days or weeks later. If you have suffered a head or brain injury, please make an appointment at Health Services. If you have an emergency, contact campus security or call 911.
For additional information about concussions: