Below are some of the most frequently asked questions that patients and families have about the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (JRC) and the diseases we treat. Select a question to reveal the answer.
Q: How can I schedule an appointment at JRC?
A: To schedule an appointment JRC, call us: (212) 746-5077, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Q: How long will I have to wait for an appointment?
A: Appointment availability varies by physician. Please contact your individual physician regarding availability.
Q: Where is JRC located?
A: JRC is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, 1315 York Avenue, Mezzanine Level, New York, NY 10021. JRC is accessible by driving and public transportation. Click here for directions to JRC.
Q: I’m driving to JRC. Where can I park?
A: Parking is available at:
- Greenberg Garage, 525 East 68th Street (between York Ave. & East River Drive); tel: (212) 746-2015 or (212) 746-1886
- Helmsley Garage, 507 East 70th Street (between York Ave. & East River Drive); tel: (212) 746-1974
- Payson Garage, 426 East 71st Street (between First Ave. & York Ave.); tel: (212) 746-1977
- Phipps House Garage, 1285 York Avenue (between E. 68th St. & E. 69th St.); tel: (212) 746-1979
Q: How can I get information about a particular doctor at JRC?
A: Information about our healthcare professionals, including their clinical expertise, treatment philosophies, biographies, and research interests, can be found within Weill Cornell Medicine’s Physician Organization Profile System (POPS). Click here for a list of JRC clinical staff and for links to their individual websites.
Q: Do I need a physician referral to see a doctor at JRC?
A: We prefer, but do not require, a physician referral to see a specialist at the JRC. However, your insurance company may require you to have a physician referral in order for you to receive benefits. If you are unsure, call your insurance carrier for clarification.
Q: Does JRC accept my health insurance?
A: Physicians at JRC accept most major health insurance plans. Insurance acceptance is determined on a physician-by-physician basis. A list of accepted insurance plans is published online for each individual physician. Click here to see a list of our doctors, and for links to their individual profiles. Once you have a particular physician in mind, it is a good idea to call the center: (212) 746-5077, to make sure that your insurance plan is accepted.
Q: Does JRC accept Medicare and Medicaid patients?
A: Yes, doctors at JRC treat patients covered by both Medicare and Medicaid. Individual physician profiles list the insurance plans that are accepted. Click here to see a list of our doctors, and links to their individual websites.
Q: What should I bring to my first appointment?
A: For your first visit to JRC, please bring: your insurance identification card; a list of all prescription and non-prescription medications you are taking; a copy of your medical records (including endoscopy, radiology and surgery reports, where appropriate); the results of all relevant tests or imaging studies (including color endoscopy images and radiology images contained on a CD, as well as the associated radiology reports); and a list of your questions and concerns that you would like to cover during your visit. More information about your visit is available here.
Q: What can I expect during my appointment?
A: During your first evaluation, our healthcare professionals will gather information about your medical history. A physical examination, as well as blood tests and imaging studies also may be performed.
Based on the results of your initial appointment, follow-up visits will be tailored to your individual needs. You may need to receive further testing, treatments, consultation with a specialist in a different field of medicine, or counseling services. JRC and Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital offer dermatology, endocrinology, liver disease, nephrology, rheumatology, radiology and colorectal surgery services, as well as social services and counseling in genetics, diet and nutrition. Click here to learn more about the clinical services offered at JRC.
Q: Will I need to redo any tests that I have already done elsewhere?
A: We use information from all previous diagnostic tests whenever possible. However, in cases where diagnostic information is not conclusive, or the disease course has changed, we may need to repeat certain tests or conduct additional tests in gathering more accurate information to guide your personal IBD care plan.
Q: Do I need to receive genetic testing?
A: Genetic testing is offered as an option for JRC patients who wish to receive it.
Q: What services do JRC nutritionists provide?
A: Certain foods and dietary choices can make IBD symptoms worse. Our nutritionist provides information to help you make dietary decisions and relieve specific symptoms of IBD. Additionally, the abdominal pain and inflammation associated with IBD may affect your appetite and your ability to digest and absorb certain foods. Our nutritionist works closely with your gastroenterologists to make sure that you are eating and absorbing enough nutrients to meet your nutritional needs. We encourage regular follow-up visits to make sure your nutritional needs are being addressed over the course of your treatment for IBD. For more information about nutrition and IBD, visit our Nutrition Science page.
Q: What do social workers do for patients with IBD?
A: Social workers offer support, and direct patients and their families to resources helpful in coping with the day-to-day challenges of living with IBD. These resources may include information about insurance policies, financial assistance and community services.
At JRC, a social worker is available to address quality of life issues unique to patients with IBD. We offer support groups, guest speakers and seminars that address issues such as body image, family relationships, how to speak with your doctor about your symptoms, employment concerns, lifestyle challenges, stress relief, complementary medicine and pain management.
Q: I would like to schedule appointments for several services at the center. Can you help me coordinate them for the same day?
A: Yes. JRC staff will work with patients to coordinate appointments.
Q: How is JRC different from other medical centers that treat patients with IBD?
A: JRC is part of a multidisciplinary gastrointestinal disease center at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital that offers patients highly comprehensive, personalized and coordinated care. State-of-the-art diagnostics and treatments for patients with IBD are available all in one location.
JRC offers a full range of treatments and services, including inpatient and outpatient care, onsite IV infusion services, colonoscopy and nutritional counseling, as well as access to healthcare professionals at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital who can offer complex surgical procedures, genetic testing and social services. Renowned gastroenterologists at JRC work in close collaboration with dermatologists, endocrinologists, nephrologists, rheumatologists, radiologists, colorectal surgeons, medical geneticists, nutritionists and social workers in the Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital family.
In addition to clinical care, physicians at JRC work closely with researchers at the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease to promote a collective understanding of the pathophysiology of IBD, with the hope that this collaboration may one day lead to a cure. Patients have access to clinical trials and physicians on the cutting edge of breakthroughs in diagnostics and treatments for IBD.
Q: Does JRC provide care for children with IBD?
A: Services for children with IBD are provided by our colleagues in pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medicine/NewYork-Presbyterian Hosptial. Our transitional care program helps pediatric patients transition to adult care services. This process begins in adolescence (around the age of 12), and continues through the teen years and into young adulthood (through age 18). Pediatric specialists introduce young IBD patients to new physicians at JRC, and support adjustment to the new environment of adult care.
Q: Are there any clinical trials being conducted at the center, and can I participate in them?
A: Yes. Physicians and researchers at JRC and the Jill Roberts Institute for Research in Inflammatory Bowel Disease are conducting a multitude of ongoing clinical trials in IBD. For more information, please visit Clinical Trials, and be sure to discuss your interest and eligibility with your doctor.
Q: I have questions about symptoms and treatments for IBD. Where can I find more information and resources for patients living with IBD?
A: The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) offers a wealth of information, resources and support for patients with IBD. The CCFA is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding cures for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. They provide funding for studies at major medical institutions, including JRC, and help to finance underdeveloped areas of research. The organization also manages an online community for IBD patients, including patient discussion boards and personal stories from patients living with IBD. The CCFA website provides comprehensive information about the types, prevalence, causes and symptoms of IBD, as well as information about treatment options.
Q: What is IBD, and what are the different types of IBD?
A: IBD, or inflammatory bowel disease, is a chronic inflammatory disease that involves all or part of the digestive tract. There are different types of IBD, defined by where the inflammation occurs. The two most common types of IBD are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. In both of these types, chronic inflammation of the digestive tract leads to the destruction of gastrointestinal tissue and a variety of serious systems.
Q: What is the difference between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis?
A: Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. The inflammation in Crohn's disease typically involves the ileum, but may occur in any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation of the affected areas can be patchy in nature, and often penetrates deeply into the tissues. Surgery may be required to remove inflamed tissues affected by Crohn's disease. However, surgery does not cure Crohn's disease, and the disease may recur after surgery.
Ulcerative colitis also causes inflammation and ulcers (sores) in the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike Crohn’s disease, the inflammation in ulcerative colitis is limited to the large intestine (colon) and rectum. The inflammation is usually continuous, instead of patchy as it is in Crohn’s disease, and more superficial. Ulcerative colitis can be completely cured by surgical removal of the colon and rectum.
Q: Some of the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease sound similar to the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). What is the difference between IBD and IBS?
A: IBS is classified as a “functional disorder” because the symptoms of IBS are not known to have a physical, identifiable cause, such as the inflammation that occurs in IBD. Some of the symptoms of IBS are the same as those for IBD — e.g., abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue and weight loss — but individuals with IBS do not show identifiable signs of gastrointestinal inflammation. Both IBS and IBD can be associated with severe symptoms, but unlike IBS, the symptoms associated with IBD can become life threatening.
Q: What are the symptoms of IBD?
A: The symptoms of IBD range from mild to severe, and vary depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs. Additionally, symptoms can appear and retreat, as the underlying inflammation cycles between periods of activation and remission.
Some of the most common symptoms of IBD include:
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Blood in the stool
- Changes in appetite
- Weight loss
Q: What causes IBD?
A: The exact cause of IBD is not known. Researchers believe that the immune system may play a role in the development of IBD. The immune system may become dysregulated in response to a bacterial or viral infection, resulting in an abnormal response that causes immune cells to attack the body’s own normal digestive cells.
Researchers also suspect that there is a genetic component connected to IBD. Some individuals with IBD have family members who are also affected. Additionally, IBD is more common in Americans with Jewish ancestry. However, a specific gene that confers susceptibility to IBD has not yet been identified. Environmental factors may play a role, but no specific causes have been identified. Diet and stress can exacerbate symptoms of IBD, but neither causes the disease.
Q: How many people have IBD?
A: In 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that IBD affects up to 1.3 million people in the United States.
Q: How is IBD treated?
A: Doctors monitor patients with IBD closely to determine the severity and extent of inflammation, and the activation or remission of symptoms. The primary goal of treatment is to reduce and prevent inflammation.
Depending on a patient’s type of IBD and symptoms, as well as how they react to therapies, treatment may include one or more of the following:
- Immune suppressants
- Surgery may be indicated for some patients with IBD.
- Nutritional supplements - such as iron, calcium, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D - may be indicated for some patients with IBD
Q: What is the outlook for patients with IBD?
A: The goal of treatment for patients with IBD is to reduce the inflammation that causes damage to the digestive tract. Gastroenterologists at JRC develop comprehensive and personalized care plans, tailored to each patient’s individual symptoms and conditions. Although IBD can cause serious symptoms, with care and support from the dedicated team at JRC, patients can lead a healthy lifestyle with minimal symptoms.