Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a written request from my doctor to have radiology procedure?
Yes. Our department requires a request or a requisition from a physician for imaging examinations. This is similar to the requirements for patients to obtain prescription medications. This can be in the form of a prescription, an official Columbia University Department of Radiology Request Form, or it can be ordered online by your referring physician.
Do I need an appointment?
Every effort will be made to accomodate you and your schedule. Your day will run more smoothly if you have a scheduled appointment for your imaging, such as for an MRI, CT or PET scan. If you are planning to see a physician at one of our sites, and you need to have imaging prior to your appointment with your doctor, we can arrange to have your imaging study performed on the same day prior to your doctor's appointment, so that your physician will have the results and the images available to them at the time of your appointment. Outpatient plain films such as chest x-rays, or extremity examinations like knees or hands are performed on a walk-in basis. Mammography, MRI, CT, Ultrasound, Interventional, Neuro Interventional, Nuclear Medicine, PET, PET/CT and Ultrasound can be performed in a more time efficient manner if there are appointments. When scheduling an appointment, please communicate to the scheduler any allergies, prior contrast reactions, and any other special needs such as interpreter services or assistance that may be required for your radiology procedure.
What if I need to reschedule my appointment?
Call the scheduling desk where your procedure or imaging study was going to be performed, and leave a message if it is after hours or on the weekends. The department will contact you to reschedule.
What paperwork should I bring with me?
Most outpatients should bring the written requisition from their doctor. Sometimes these requests are sent ahead to the radiology department by the referring physician. If you received any appointment slips or patient preparation instructions, bring these documents to your appointment. It is also advisable to bring a list of your current medications (or you can bring the medications themselves) and any information you may have about any allergies you may have. If you are a new patient for our sites, please download the patient demographic forms [add forms link here] and fill them out in advance. Please bring them with you to the appointment. This will save time and make your overall appointment more efficient.
Do I need any special preparation for my test?
You should be told about any special preparation when your examination is scheduled. You can review a list of preparations for various outpatient examinations on our web page under “How to prepare for my exam” or Radiology Info website. Typical examinations requiring special patient preparation include: CT and MRI scans, Interventional Procedures, Nuclear Medicine studies, and Ultrasound.
Will my insurance cover this test?
Coverage for imaging tests is variable and depends on your insurance. Please contact your insurance company if you have any questions. You may also contact our Radiology Billing office at (212) 305-1948 for any billing questions prior to your radiology procedure or after your procedure.
What if I would like a report of the procedure and copy of the images?
Please contact your referring physician’s office to discuss the results of your examination. Should you want a copy of the report, and your referring physician’s office is unable to provide it for you, please call the Radiology File Room at (212)-305-6006, to receive a copy of your imaging procedure report. If you want a copy of your actual exam in CD format, you may contact the Radiology File Room and a CD will be provided to you upon signature of a release form.