Medical Surveillance Policy

Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), in its commitment to the health and safety of its personnel and visitors, has established a medical surveillance program to address workplace hazards, including exposure to biological, chemical, and physical agents. The medical surveillance program includes healthcare workers at risk of acquiring or transmitting communicable diseases to patients, visitors, and colleagues because of their exposure in the workplace. The program provides for an assessment of health risks associated with certain positions and a determination of appropriate medical testing and recommended vaccines. Medical surveillance will be required in certain positions, and additionally, in some instances, mandatory testing, immunizations, or other preventive procedures may be necessary. Medical surveillance will be performed at the Workforce Health and Safety (WHS) at the time of hire or transfer into a position with such hazards.

Further surveillance may be performed periodically as required. Medical Surveillance clearance is a requirement for all those working in the NYP space and falls under the Joint Commission requirement before their start date. There is no cost to the employee for this service.


This policy applies to faculty, staff, and visitors who routinely work with certain hazardous biological, chemical, and physical agents, including employees who work with patients, laboratory animals, bloodborne pathogens, other infectious agents, formaldehyde, xylene, class 3b or 4a lasers, and those whose work requires the use of a respirator. Job descriptions and postings will identify positions requiring participation in the medical surveillance program.


Personnel and visitors hired in identified positions will be scheduled for medical surveillance by their department. The evaluation may consist of a medical and occupational history, a physical examination, and necessary blood testing and immunizations. For those potentially exposed to bloodborne pathogens, the HBV vaccine will be offered. Personnel and visitors working with human subjects will be required to demonstrate serologic immunity to rubella, measles, and varicella or undergo immunization. Baseline tuberculosis skin testing and screening for active tuberculosis will be performed. WHS will conduct drug testing only on personnel with contact with patients and human subjects in a hospital setting outside those subject to a pre-employment screening (1199/SSA union members, casuals, and those with a hospital appointment/affiliation). Visitors will also be subject to a pre-employment screening if they meet the Joint Commission requirements.

  1. Registration: Supervisors must register Columbia University personnel using this online form.
  2. Clearance: Upon clearance by WHS, an email will be sent to the supervisor and CUIMC Human Resources Department, except for the respiratory clearance form, which will be administered directly to the employee to deliver to their supervisor. The supervisor must contact Environmental Health and Safety to schedule the fit testing.
  3. Periodic Surveillance: When indicated for a job title, periodic follow-up may be necessary. The supervisor will notify the employee when a periodic evaluation is indicated.
  4. Hours and Location of WHS: WHS is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 PM Monday through Friday, except for hospital holidays. It is located in the Harkness Pavilion 1 South.
  5. CUIMC Photo ID Badge: Personnel must bring their CUIMC photo ID badge with them to WHS.
  6. Responsibility: CUIMC Human Resources 212-305-3819, Option #1, Environmental Health & Safety 212-305-6780 CUIMC and 212-854-8749 Morningside, Faculty Affairs and Supervisors 212-305-5390.