Specialist Referrals

After seeing a primary care provider at SHWB, they may determine that you need to see a specialist for more thorough evaluation and/or testing. As a courtesy to our students, we have an insurance/referral coordinator who can assist you with this process if needed.

What you will need

  • Insurance card
  • Referral form

Patient Responsibility

  • Ensure that the service and provider is covered by your insurance plan, prior to an appointment being made.
  • Pay fees not covered by your health insurance.
  • Contact specialist/provider 24 hours in advance if you need to cancel/reschedule.

How to Schedule Your Specialist Visit Once You Receive a Referral from SHWB

We recognize that many students may be new to scheduling their own healthcare appointments. Below are some general steps to follow when scheduling an appointment. Please recognize that, while we are in a metropolitan area, it may take weeks to months to get appointments with certain specialties.

We may have already given you the name of a provider on your referral. If so, you may skip to the step that starts with getting your calendar ready.

  • Find out what specialty you were referred to.
  • Call your insurance company (the number is usually located on your insurance card) or look at your insurance company’s website for providers in that specialty who are in-network with your insurance and located nearby.
  • Write down at least a few of the names that they give you, and the provider’s phone numbers.
  • Ask the insurance company what your copay/deductible will be for the visit, so that you are prepared for that fee when you arrive at the visit. Write this down.
  • Get your calendar ready, so that you know when you are free.
  • Call the provider that you select.
  • Tell the person who answers the phone that you would like to schedule a visit as a new patient for that specialty, that you have a referral and the name of your insurance company. You will also need to tell them why you need to see the specialist—give a very brief description of why (e.g., I injured my left foot, I have an odd-looking mole that needs evaluation, etc.).
  • If they need more information, they will ask you for it.
  • They should give you the next available appointment time. If that does not work for you, ask for additional times, to see if one works for you. You may need to miss class/lecture/lab in order to see the specialist.
  • For some specialties, there can be a several month wait. If this happens, you can:
    • Politely hang up and call another provider on your insurance list.
    • Take the appointment time that they give you, and ask to be put on their cancellation list, so that they can call you if something becomes available sooner.
  • Once you book the appointment, write down the following information before you hang up:
    • What should I bring to the appointment?
    • Do I need to fill out forms ahead of time? If so, how do I get those forms?
    • What is their cancellation policy (in case something conflicts with that time closer to the visit)?

Things to Consider

  • Be polite when scheduling.
  • Realize that you may occasionally have to miss a class for an appointment, if there are no other good times, or you need to be seen ASAP. If this happens, let your professor know. Each professor handles the information differently.
  • If the office asks you for supporting documentation for the reason of your appointment, ask if you can bring the SHWB visit notes that you have access to in the SHWB Portal to your visit. If they would like us to fax that information to them instead, then you should call our office during regular business hours and ask us to fax your records to the specialist that you chose. You will need to give us their fax number, the name of the specialist, the date of your appointment at SHWB (so that we only fax pertinent records to them), and the date of your appointment with the specialist.
  • For some specialties, appointments at Johns Hopkins Hospital can take months to get. SHWB does not get special privileges to schedule students faster there than anyone else does. Students may want to consider scheduling appointments with community providers in those specialties, as they can usually get students in faster.
  • If you schedule a visit, but later need to cancel it, please remember to call and cancel. If you don’t, it will tie up that appointment slot, which could otherwise be used by someone on their cancellation list.
  • If you have school insurance, Johns Hopkins Hospital specialists usually accept your insurance. However, the scheduler may not recognize your insurance name, and may tell you that you are not in network. If this happens, tell them that your insurance is under the CIGNA PPO network, and that the scheduler should input your plan group and ID number, or encourage the scheduler to call the verification number on the back of your insurance card.