Becoming a Patient

Becoming a Patient

VIDEO | 03:54
Newly diagnosed? Hear advice from our patients.
Video Details

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis can be many things: frightening, stressful, surprising, confusing, and the list goes on. One thing it usually isn’t? Easy.

Consider this guide your one-stop checklist for becoming our patient. We’re here to help you make sense of your options and be sure you get the care you need.

Here’s how to get started.

 

Step 1. Make an appointment.

You can request an appointment online or call us at 800-525-2225. International patients can call 212-639-4900 or use AT&T Direct Access by dialing the access number for the country you are calling from, then dialing 888-675-7722.

You don’t need a referral to make an appointment. The representatives who staff our appointment lines are knowledgeable, well trained, and sensitive, and they can answer many of your questions.

You don’t need any inside knowledge or personal ties to reach out to us. While we are a world-renowned cancer hospital, anyone can call us. You don’t need an “in” to be treated here.

You don’t have to have a rare cancer. It’s true that we’re world leaders in treating many of the most complex, challenging types of the disease. But our compassionate, comprehensive approach to care can make a big difference to people with the most common forms of cancer, too, including breast, lung, and prostate cancers. Oftentimes, our experts are able to offer treatment options that are more effective or that can improve your quality of life.

You can receive care that’s closer to home. While some treatments can only be given at our main locations in New York City, more and more patients are receiving the vast majority of their care at our regional care locations in New York State and New Jersey. Our care advisers can discuss what services are offered in the location that’s most convenient for you.

Step 2. Check your insurance.

MSK doctors are in-network for many health insurance companies. Medicaid and New York State Medicare also provide benefits for care here.

We also work with a limited number of international insurance companies. To find out about possible insurance coverage for an international patient, please contact us at international@mskcc.org 

Before you come for your first visit, a representative from our Patient Financial Services (PFS) department will contact you to explain your benefits and review any pre-authorization requirements.

If you don’t have health insurance or you’re worried that your insurance may not cover your entire bill, we may be able to provide financial assistance.

Learn more about insurance, including those insurance providers who have relationships with MSK. And if you still have questions, call us at 646-497-9176.

Step 3. Prepare for your visit.

When you call to schedule an appointment, the representative will tell you about the medical records and other details we’ll need to have before your first visit. Then, before your first, there are a few other things you should do:

  • Educate yourself: Many people find that knowing more about the cancer type they’ve been diagnosed with makes them feel more comfortable with their treatment options and more empowered to make decisions with their care team.
  • Bring a loved one: If you can, have a family member or friend come with you to participate in the discussion, take notes, or just listen and provide support. Learn about our vistor policy.
  • Know how to get here: Once you know the location of your first appointment, we have resources to help driving directions and parking options. If you’re coming from out of town, we also have resources to help you with air travel.
  • Know where to stay: If you need to stay in a hotel for an appointment, we have arranged special rates and services with area hotels for MSK patients, family members, and caregivers.

Information for patients and caregivers: Learn about our response to COVID-19.