Ariane de Gennaro, Illustrations Editor

In the 50 years since its launch in 1971, Yale Health has remained at the heart of University health care, offering students, faculty and staff access to mental health, acute, internal and specialized treatment services. 

Unlike the Yale New Haven Health Hospital, or YNHH, which treats clients from all over New Haven and the world, Yale Health is specifically tailored to groups on campus. Current institutional leadership consists of Paul Genecin, Jennifer McCarthy, Madeline Wilson, Nanci Fortgang and Peter Steere, all of whom are doctors, pharmacists or nurses. The medical system now offers an assortment of online and in-person services with the intent of maximizing health care while minimizing the risk of face-to-face interaction of infected individuals. 

To cover the costs of these services, the University automatically enrolls all students on Yale Health Basic Coverage and Hospitalization or Specialty Care Coverage. The News compiled a list of answers to some of your most frequently asked and pressing questions about navigating health care at Yale. 

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How do students book medical appointments and access test results?

Students seeking health care at Yale Health usually have three primary options: Athletic Care, Mental Health and Student Health. 

There are two avenues for making medical appointments: phone calls and MyChart, a phone app. Users who have a specific category of care in mind can use the department directories to call the health officials of interest at their designated numbers, though some departments require referrals and others are restricted to either only students or non-students. 

Most students who seek treatment at Yale currently use MyChart, an initiative that personalizes health care and enables clients to communicate directly with clinicians at Yale Health, Yale Medical Group and YNHH. Depending on a student’s specific needs, they can be referred to professionals from these groups that, though separate from Yale Health, are connected through partnerships and institutional overlap. 

MyChart also serves as a health record for users. Those with an account can see allergies and medications, view test results and schedule or cancel appointments. The details and links necessary to create a MyChart account are available on the Yale Health website.

“For me, with MyChart, setting up appointments is a fairly quick and streamlined process,” Alexander Hoang ’24 said. “I would definitely agree that being matched with a specific service or knowing what MyChart covers can be difficult, [however], especially because the Yale Insurance is really vague about what it covers.” 

Hoang also emphasized an inconsistency he noticed in response times through MyChart. Though he personally received a quick response, which he attributed to the seriousness of his injury, he noted that friends who got the Yague encountered difficulties in accessing medicine and antibiotics.

How do students seek mental health services?

In response to an ever-increasing demand for mental health services, Director of Mental Health and Counseling Paul Hoffman recently announced major expansions to the mental health branch at Yale Health, including more clinicians and a third location at 60 Temple Street. 

Students looking to book an appointment with MHC should call (203) 432-0290 during business hours. They will be provided a clinician for an initial consultation via Zoom or telephone within a week, though wait times can be variable depending on exact demand. Following the consultation, students are matched with a clinician to carry out official therapy sessions remotely or at a physical location, where they will discuss specific therapies and medications. MHC reports that the wait time for being officially connected to a clinician will usually take several weeks and that most students will receive services for about 6 to 8 weeks.

A newly-implemented policy allows former clients to request their previous therapists without redoing an initial consultation appointment, as long as the subsequent request is within six months of the first one. If the timeline has exceeded six months, students can still ask to schedule an appointment with their previous therapist, though they will be required to undergo the evaluation again. 

MHC also offers a group therapy option for students, which they can request during their evaluation — or in the case of a current patient, during a session with their clinician. Group sessions are either semesterly or annual, and are tailored to specific types of care, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Anxiety, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression, Dialectical Behavior Therapy Coping Skills and Making Peace with Food, as well as groups for cultural and LGBTQ+ identities.

How do student athletes seek care?

Yale varsity athletes who are seeking treatment for sports-related injuries should turn to Yale Athletics Medicine Department, a team of healthcare professionals that encompasses team physicians, athletic trainers, orthopedic surgeons, physician assistants and a nurse coordinator. This type of treatment will be tailored to maximize recovery and ease of return to athletic play. 

The department prefers that students schedule appointments over the phone at (203) 432-0334. Injuries or illnesses developed during play or practice should first be reported to an athletic trainer, who can then work with the patient to arrange a medical follow-up. 

Yale Athletics also works with the Athletic Training Education Program at Quinnipiac University to offer clinical sites for athletic training students, where treatment and injury assessments are carried out. The main Athletic Training Room at the University is located on the first floor of the Payne Whitney Gym and is open on weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. 

Athletes who are part of in-season sports will receive priority to the facility — and all other athletes are therefore urged to sign up for the morning block, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for evaluation and treatment. 

What insurance plans are offered and what benefits do they offer?

The Yale Basic Coverage plan is completely free for students and covers Student Health, Athletic Medicine for varsity athletes, Gynecology, Acute Care, Mental Health & Counseling, Laboratory, Inpatient Care and Nutrition.  

The Hospitalization/Specialty Care coverage plan includes a long list of benefits, among which are Diagnostic Imaging, Emergency Services, Infectious Diseases, Hospital Services and Allergy.

A single eligible student can expect to pay $1,378 for a semester of coverage under this more extensive plan. Any student who wishes to forgo this plan can sign a waiver to opt out. 

A more comprehensive list of benefits and pricing for select individuals under this plan is available on the Yale Health website. Regardless of how complicated online appointment, vaccination scheduling and different insurance plans may be, receiving medical attention in the event of a serious emergency is quite simple.

“For a medical emergency, 911 should always be the first call,” McCarthy said. 

How should students test and vaccinate against COVID-19?

When asked about how students should act if they suspect they may have contracted COVID-19, clinician Jennifer McCarthy replied that students should “Mask, isolate themselves and test.”

The COVID-19 pandemic is still treated as a very serious threat by Yale Health. Individuals suffering from any symptoms resembling COVID-19 are recommended to test for the illness. Testing kits are available for free at the various drop off stations. 

There are seven locations with test drop-off stations: the Sterling Hall of Medicine, the Watson Center, 25 Science Park, the West Campus Conference Center, the Schwarzman Center, Rosenfeld Hall and the Loria Center. More information about specific kiosk location and hours can be found at the COVID-19 Yale website. 

“The COVID-19 bivalent booster is now available and [I] encourage all students to receive it,” McCarthy said. “The vaccine has been updated to include the Omicron variant so this updated vaccine will offer greater protection against illness and severe illness if infected from Omicron.”

COVID-19 vaccines and their boosters are still offered through the Yale COVID-19 Vaccine Program. Appointments to receive a vaccination can be scheduled through the Yale Health website, though the process of booking an appointment can be cumbersome, according to some students.

“There’s just a lot of information that I had to fill out, so that took a while,” Amelia Herrmann ‘26 said.

In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine, Yale Health is also offering students the ability to schedule appointments to receive the flu vaccine. These flu shots can be administered during the same appointment scheduled to receive the COVID-19 vaccination or booster. Alternatively, if an individual wishes to set an appointment only for the flu vaccination, they can do so using the Flu Shot Finder tool found on the Yale Health Flu Information website.

The Yale Health medical clinic is located at 55 Lock Street, New Haven.

Brian Zhang is Arts editor of the Yale Daily News and the third-year class president at Yale. Previously, he covered student life for the University desk. His writing can also be found in Insider Magazine, The Sacramento Bee, BrainPOP, New York Family and uInterview. Follow @briansnotebook on Instagram for more!