How do I get a referral to a specialist?

The Emerson College Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) does not require you to have a referral to see a specialist. Some specialty practices may request a “non-formal referral” from a general practitioner before seeing a patient (please confirm with the specialist office). Therefore, it is advisable to meet with the Emerson Health Center practitioners prior to seeking care from a specialist.

If you have insurance through an employer or parent plan, consult your insurer directly for specific referral and authorization requirements. Most plans provide subscribers with a listing of plan clinicians and specialists. The Health Services staff can also help you find a local specialist.

How can I get my immunization or other medical records?

Medical records are retained for seven years from graduation or separation from Emerson. Download and complete the Authorization for Release of Medical Records Form.

Submit the completed form through one of the following ways:

  • Faxing the form to 617-824-7897
  • Scanning/emailing to healthservices [at] (healthservices[at]emerson[dot]edu)
  • Dropping the form off in person at 216 Tremont Street, 3rd Floor, Room 303
  • Mailing to Emerson Wellness Center, 120 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

Please allow seven business days from receipt to process your request.

How do I sign up for a alcohol or cannabis education class?

There are several sessions of alcohol or cannabis education classes offered each semester. To attend a class, you must:

  • Choose a date/time that works with your schedule.
  • Register online at least 24 hours in advance.

Questions? Contact the Health Services or Community Standards and Student Conduct.

What if I have a problem with my insurance bill?

Payment on filed claims for covered expenses will be mailed directly to the hospital or doctor unless proof of payment is submitted with the claim. Once a claim is processed, an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) Statement will be mailed to you explaining the benefit paid to the provider. The provider will then send you a statement indicating if a balance is due. Please update your mailing address to ensure you receive claim forms and EOB statements in a timely manner.

Helpful Hints

  • Don’t put off following up. Medical and dental practices are quick to turn bills over to collection agencies and this can hurt your credit rating!
  • Review the Explanation of Benefits (EOB) form sent from your insurer.
  • If you did not receive an EOB but only the bill for service, contact the billing office of the facility issuing the bill.
  • All customer service inquiries, including provider network questions, should be directed to your insurance claims department. (For students enrolled in the College-sponsored program, call University Health Plans at 800-437-6448.)
  • Call the provider to make sure the claim was submitted correctly and confirm that it has your correct information (spelling of name, DOB, insurance carrier, and policy number/address). Ask to have it resubmitted.
  • Keep a log of your phone or email contacts/notes with date/time and name of the customer service representative you spoke with.
  • Make a copy of all letters/bills/documents you submit.
  • Worried about confidentiality for any EOB or insurance bills? Learn more about the MA PATCH Act, which helps protect your sensitive health information. Information shared during visits with the EWC is always confidential.

If you disagree with how a claim was processed, request a review of the decision. In general, requests must be made in writing within 180 days of receipt of the EOB. Check with your insurer for specific requirements and the address to submit your request for appeal. The request must include why you disagree with the way the claim was processed. The request must also include any additional information that supports the claim (e.g., medical records, physician’s office notes, operative reports, physician’s letter of medical necessity).

Why do I have a health hold?

All new students have a health hold effective date on their Banner accounts. For students entering in the fall, this date is July 15. For students entering in the spring, this date is January 5. The health hold will become effective if the Health Services has not received (via the Student Health Portal) your completed online health forms and you have not entered/uploaded immunization verification required by the Commonwealth of MA. Upon submitting your health information/immunizations via the Student Health Portal, a Health Service staff member will contact you to let you know if further information is needed to meet compliance with Emerson’s matriculation health requirements.

To find out if you have a health hold, log onto your eCommon account and click View Holds (under the Student Services tab). All health holds will have a date denoting when the health hold was placed or will become effective.

I missed a class. How do I get a doctor’s note?

Except in cases of emergency or hospitalization, the Health Services does not provide students with notes excusing them from missing class or academic obligations. This is outlined in full in the Emerson College Student Handbook.

Communicate with your professors about expectations regarding absences. Students may sign an Authorization for Release of Medical Records at the Health Services, so we may speak to the professors you specify when they call our office. The only information we will share is the date of your appointment or a confirmation that we have been in contact with you—we will not share the reason for your appointment or any medical diagnosis with a professor.

Health Forms and Immunizations Compliance

I can't get my doctor to sign the Emerson College immunization verification form. What should I do?

You do not need your medical provider to sign the Emerson-specific form. The Health Services will accept other verifiable records (like a print out from the doctor's office, a prior school record, a department of public health document, immunization booklets, etc). Please take a photo and upload it to the Health Portal. We will let you know if it is not acceptable. Don't forget you need to enter each DATE of vaccination or blood work in the Health Portal. Click on Immunizations, and Enter Dates.

How can I see a clinician?

Students may also book selected appointments online through the Student Health Portal. Students may also call Health Services at 617-824-8666 to schedule an appointment or obtain health advice during the school year. If you do not reach someone directly, leave a detailed voicemail with your name, your phone number, your Emerson ID number, and the reason for your call and someone will return your call as soon as possible.

The health center is open during the academic year and summer with modified hours. We are closed during major holidays and winter breaks, our staff will respond to phone or email inquiries upon return.

I can't get my doctor to sign the Emerson College immunization verification form. What should I do?

You do not need your medical provider to sign the Emerson-specific form. The Health Services will accept other verifiable & legible records (like a print out from the doctor's office, a prior school record, a department of public health document, immunization booklets, etc). Please scan or take a photo of your records and upload them to the Health Portal. We will let you know if your documentation is not acceptable. Don't forget you need to enter each DATE of vaccination or blood work in the Health Portal. Click on Immunizations, and then enter dates. 

Who needs to complete the pre-entrance health forms and meet immunization compliance?

  • All full-time students (>8 credits for undergraduates and >4 credits for graduate students) taking on-campus classes at Emerson College. Low-residential graduate programs & pre-college are included.
  • Regardless of full-time or part-time:
    • All students on a visa must meet immunization compliance.
    • All CSD students must meet immunization compliance.
  • Part-time domestic students and 100 percent online students do NOT need to meet immunization compliance. If a student starts as part-time but becomes full-time, the student needs to meet compliance.
  • Speech@Emerson students submit their immunizations through the Castle Branch portal. Health Services does not manage the Castle Branch portal, please check with your advisor if you have questions.

Which vaccines are required? Why do students need to be vaccinated?

Per Commonwealth of Massachusetts regulation (105 CMR 220.600), Emerson College’s pre-entrance required immunizations are listed on the Immunizations page.

School immunization requirements exist to protect students and members of their community from serious vaccine-preventable diseases by ensuring high vaccination rates.

Is a flu shot required?

A flu shot (seasonal influenza vaccine) is strongly recommended by the Commonwealth of MA for all on-campus students.

>When are health forms and immunizations due for incoming fall students? spring students?

Fall: July 15
Spring: January 5

How do I complete the health forms?

Log into the Student Health Portal at and click on “Medical Forms.” There are three (3) forms: Incoming Student Health History Form, TB Risk Assessment Questionnaire (to be completed AFTER JUNE 1), and a Telehealth Agreement. Since you do not need immunization information to complete the online health forms, this is expected to be completed by July 15.

How do I submit my immunizations?

Log into the Student Health Portal at

Part 1: Click on “Immunizations.” Using the Immunization Verification Form (or other verifiable records from your doctor’s office or another institution), enter the date of EACH vaccine. Alternatively, you can enter the date of a blood test and result to prove immunity. Hit “Submit” when complete.

Part 2: Click on “Uploads.” Make sure you have an electronic or scanned copy of your records and/or lab results. Taking a clear picture of a document is acceptable. All documents MUST have your name on them. Choose the type of document you are uploading, choose the file, and upload to the portal. The Health Services will verify each vaccine and/or blood work.

What if I’m having trouble getting my immunization records?

NOTE: You do not need your immunizations to complete the online medical forms. Everyone can take this step prior to the July 15 deadline. We HIGHLY encourage you to complete the forms even if you are having trouble getting immunization records.

The Immunization Verification Form is provided for your ease and guidance. Your medical provider’s office can fill the dates in and sign and/or stamp the form.  We also accept other verifiable & legible records. If you have a printed list of vaccinations with your doctor’s office letterhead or previous school record, that is acceptable. Contact your medical provider’s office, previous school, use your state public health records (where applicable), or government health organization to request a copy of your immunization records. They can be sent to you or directly to us via fax (617-824-7897). Do NOT mail anything. You do NOT need to see a medical provider in order to get your immunization records unless you need a vaccine. Oftentimes, the health office administrative staff can send them to you or you can print them from your health portal.

What if I am having trouble getting my immunizations. What should I do?

If you are missing immunizations,, check with your primary care provider, local health or urgent care centers, and pharmacies. Many retail pharmacies (ie) Walgreens or CVS carry most all of the required immunizations. If you are having difficulties accessing past immunization records, you may request blood tests (titers) from your provider for certain immunizations (Hepatitis B, Varicella, MMR: Measles/Mumps/Rubella) to determine if you have immunity.  Please submit any records (even if not complete) by July 15. Please do not wait until the last minute to request your immunizations as it may take a few weeks to process the request. It is expected that you will be fully immunized at the time of arrival.

My home country does not offer all of the required vaccines (e.g., Tdap). What should I do?

We understand that certain countries do not offer all of the required vaccines. When you arrive in the US, please use local medical resources to obtain missing vaccines. Emerson Wellness Center typically offers immunization clinics during Orientation week and throughout the semester. Please check the Orientation schedule or Emerson Wellness Center’s website for more information. Please submit documentation of as many immunizations as you can prior to July 15.  Everyone is able to complete the required medical forms regardless of having their immunization records.

What happens if I miss the July 15 deadline?

Immunization compliance is a condition for enrollment at Emerson College. There will be a health hold on your student account, and it is possible that you may not be able to move into residence halls or attend classes. Eventually, a student would be de-enrolled in the College and lose on-campus housing (when applicable). Please get started on the process as soon as you can.

What should I do if I can’t finish a series of vaccinations before July 15?

The Health Services will provide an extension for students currently in the process of a vaccine course. The extension will end on the date when the next vaccine is due. For example, if your first dose of Hepatitis B was today, you would be given a 30-day extension until you are eligible to get the next dose. The extension applies just to Hepatitis B (in this case), and all other vaccines are still due on time.

Do I need a TB test?

If you answered YES to any of the questions on the TB Risk Assessment Questionnaire, you need a TB test (Quantiferon GOLD blood test) AFTER June 1. The TB test must be completed no more than three months prior to the start of classes. Download the TB Results Form in the Medical Forms section to bring with you to your provider or clinic.

Do I need a physical exam?

The Communication Sciences and Disorders on-campus graduate program requires documentation of a physical exam within the last three (3) years. There is not a specific Emerson form for this. All undergraduate programs and other graduate programs do NOT require a physical exam.

What should I do if there is an “immunization done too early” message?

Vaccines (especially ones with multi-doses) are required to be given at a certain time or time intervals to be acceptable.  If one of your vaccines was given “too early,” you will either need another dose of the vaccine or a blood test to verify immunity. For more information about Massachusetts’ immunization guidelines for schools, see

Do I need a meningitis vaccine?

The meningococcal ACWY vaccine (brand names: Menactra, MenVeo, MenQuadfi) is required for all students 21 years of age and under. It must be given on/after the student’s 16th birthday. If a student does not want to receive this vaccine, the student may sign and upload the Massachusetts Meningococcal Waiver Form. The meningococcal B vaccine (brand names: Bexsero and Trumenba) does not satisfy the Meningococcal ACWY requirement. Meningococcal B vaccines are recommended vaccines but not required at this time. For more information, visit the CDC webpage on meningitis B.

What if my blood test (titer) says my immunity is equivocal or borderline?

To be acceptable, the result must be positive. An equivocal or borderline result would be treated as a negative result to immunity. Students will need a booster dose or to restart the series of the vaccine based on discussion with a clinician.

What if I have a medical or religious exemption?

Students must complete the Emerson College Medical and Religious Exemption Form & upload to their health portal AND e-mail the completed forms to healthservices [at] For medical exemptions, medical documentation is required as well. Massachusetts recognizes true religious exemptions but not philosophical exemptions. Staff and faculty must submit an exemption request through Human Resources.

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