Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your most frequently asked questions about housestaff resources, campus services, policies, and more.

After Match

Congratulations on being matched with Northwestern. In the months between match and the start of your program, you can expect the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University to reach out to you regarding licensure processing, appointment contracts, and assistance with housing. Likewise, you will receive information and directives from your base hospital. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office via email or at 312-503-7975.

Services and Benefits

 How can I submit a GME verification of training request?

The GME office can typically verify the following information for McGaw residents and fellows within 5 business days: 

               Trainee name
               Training program
               Dates of training

 Verification requests can be submitted to the GME office via e-mail, postal mail, or in-person. 

               gme@northwestern.edu
               240 E. Huron St., Ste. 1-200
               Chicago, IL  60611
               P: (312) 503-7975

 Training inquiries regarding housestaff skills, conduct, or character should be submitted directly to their specific program(s).  

 Where can I get a lab coat?

At the start of training, each housestaff member is provided with two to three white lab coats, depending upon the length of their training. These are to be used throughout training at McGaw. Accordingly, all housestaff members should take their coats with them to each hospital rotation and assignment.

 How can I defray the cost of my USMLE and Board Certifying Examination?

McGaw offers the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) and Board Certifying Examination Savings Program for housestaff. The money is deducted from the housestaff's stipend check after taxes and maintained by McGaw in a non-interest bearing account. Housestaff may withdraw the full balance of the account by providing McGaw Payroll and Benefits with written notice at least seven business days before any stipend payment date. The requested amount will be included in the next stipend check. Housestaff may cancel this deduction at any time by notifying McGaw Payroll and Benefits in writing. Please complete the savings program form, sign, date, and fax to McGaw Payroll & Benefits at 866-480-8867.

Alternatively, housestaff may elect to have a portion of their stipend deposited directly into their own saving account. To elect this service, please complete a Direct Deposit Authorization form.

This program is designed only to assist housestaff with savings for Step 3 of the USMLE or for a Board certifying examination. All paperwork associated with registering and paying for the exam is the responsibility of the housestaff member.

 Do I need a WildCARD?

Housestaff are eligible to receive a WildCARD and are strongly encouraged to obtain one. They are required for:

  • Chicago campus parking
  • Access to the University’s athletic facilities
  • Access to Galter Library services
  • Merchant discounts
  • University sponsored athletic and entertainment event discounts

Get a WildCARD at Abbott Hall Room 100 on the Chicago campus, or Norris Center Underground on the Evanston campus.

 Is there a way to access medical journals for free?

The Galter Health Sciences Library supports the research, education, and patient care activities of the Feinberg School of Medicine and McGaw institutions. The Galter Library is the one-stop source for all the databases, journals, books, and websites that residents will need during their time at McGaw. Highlights of the library’s collection include:

  • Access to 130 literature databases, including MEDLINE, Evidence-Based Medicine Reviews, PsycINFO, EMBASE Drugs & Pharmacology, and Web of Science
  • Over 9,000 electronic journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Nature, Science, Lancet, and British Medical Journal
  • More than 4,500 electronic books including Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, Sabiston Textbook of Surgery, Griffith’s 5 Minute Clinical Consult, and the titles available in MD Consult, Stat!Ref, and Books@Ovid

 I need a lawyer in relation to an event at the hospital. Can the Graduate Medical Education Office help?

Assistance with legal questions regarding a housestaff member's provision of clinical services may be obtained through the general counsel or risk management at each McGaw affiliated hospital. The telephone numbers of these offices follow.

  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital: 312-227-4240
  • Jesse Brown VA Medical Center: 312-569-7751
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital: 312-926-9027
  • Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago: 312-238-6208

 Where can I get something notarized?

The McGaw GME office at 240 East Huron Street, Suite 1-200 in Chicago offers notary public services. We are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

 Can the GME Office assist me with my visa/medical license?

Our office offers a variety of services related to licenses and visas, including: 

  • Sponsors J-1 visas and supports new H-1-B visas
  • Assists housestaff members in obtaining permanent medical licenses
  • Processes all initial temporary Illinois medical licenses and license extensions

See the Licenses and Visa page for more information.

 Can McGaw help with loan deferment communications?

Yes, we process training verifications and loan deferments. The McGaw GME office at 240 East Huron Street, Suite 1-200 in Chicago offers notary public services. We are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact gme@northwestern.edu, call 312-503-7975, or fax 312-503-5230.

Health Benefits

 What are the Home Hospital (HH) Facilities and how does this impact me?

Home hospital facilities are those that have the most reimbursement by the plan and the lowest out-of-pocket costs for employees. McGaw residents and fellows benefit by having several choices and three Honor Roll Hospitals as home hospital facilities. The Home Hospital (HH) Facilities are:

  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital (including Prentice Hospital)
  • Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
  • Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • Norwegian American Hospital
  • Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital 

 How does the McGaw Plan process Home Hospital (HH) Facility charges?

The plan pays a higher level of benefits for HH Facility charges. The current level of payment for HH facility is 90 percent for many services. All services at non-PPO facilities pay at 60 percent after the non-PPO deductible. We recommend contacting Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois to verify coverage/out-of-pocket costs.  

 How about the physicians who provide care at the Home Hospital facilities?

Charges at the HH from physicians who are part of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare (NMHC) are processed at the general In-Network rate. All other In-Network physician charges are processed at the general benefit level.

 What are my out of pocket costs for preventive services?

You receive 100 percent coverage for preventive care services when using a PPO network provider. Services may include screenings and immunizations. The McGaw Medical Plan is ACA compliant; therefore the Plan pays 100 percent of the cost associated with preventive services. For more information See the 2016 Benefits Guide.

 What happens if, during a preventive screening visit, my doctor detects the need for additional testing/screening?

The tests/screening due to detection of a condition (diagnostic services) will be paid at the general plan payment level. The charges will be treated as “Diagnostic Charges.” 

 What is the charge to McGaw residents and fellows for contraceptives?

Certain contraceptives, mandated by the federal government under the Affordable Care Act, are covered under the Plan at no cost to you.

 How are visits to the Emergency Room (ED) covered by the plan?

A co-pay of $125 will be waived if an inpatient admission occurs. The $125 ED copay includes the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago ED. 

 Are urgent care center visits covered?

Yes. A co-pay of $30 will apply to Northwestern Medicine(NM) immediate care (urgent care) center visits. This is to accommodate residents and fellows who may not be able to seek outpatient care during regular business hours. See a list of NM Immediate Care locations.

 Are there mental wellness providers I can see outside of Northwestern and on an expedited basis who accept McGaw’s insurance plan?

See the Wellness page under Benefits and Resources to find psychiatry providers who are willing to see trainees for expedited treatment. 

 Are services provided by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT) covered?

Services provided by LMFTs are covered. A listing of participating LMFT providers can be found via the BC/BS-IL site. Select the PPO plan, in the drop down box select Behavioral Health for provider type, and select LMFT in the Provider Specialty drop down box.