Frequently Asked Questions
What do patients need to know before they come for their appointments?
MD Anderson is committed to the safety of our patients, their visitors and employees. Before a visit, review our current COVID-19 safety processes on our COVID-19 information page.
If you have fever, cough or shortness of breath, contact your care team before your appointment.
Adult patients can bring one adult visitor or caregiver (18 and older) per day.
Everyone must pass entry screening and wear an MD Anderson-issued face mask at all times.
Inpatients can provide the names of up to two visitors but only one person will be permitted on any given day during visitor hours.
Visiting hours will be 4 to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends.
Once a visitor leaves for the day, another visitor isn’t permitted
until the next day.
How do I make an appointment at MD Anderson?
We offer two convenient ways to request your first appointment.
Online: To start the appointment process, fill out our online appointment request form. After you submit the form, a patient access specialist will call you within one business day to gather any additional information they may need such as medical records and insurance.
Call: Contact askMDAnderson at 877-632-6789 option 2, and a health information specialist will begin the appointment process by phone. Our office hours are Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and weekends and holidays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Standard Time.
Where is MD Anderson located?
Do you have a location close to my home?
Do you have doctors that specialize in my type of cancer?
Our faculty and staff include experts in all types of cancer, common and rare.
Do I have to have a confirmed diagnosis to come to MD Anderson?
No, many of our centers will see patients with a suspicion of cancer by a doctor or benign tumors.
How long will it take to get an appointment?
The hospital average is seven to 10 days; however, it varies for each center.
How long will I need to be in Houston for my first appointment?
Patients are normally here between three to five days on an outpatient basis. Please review the latest information about our COVID-19 precautions for patients and visitors.
Do I qualify for any clinical trials?
We have more than 700 current clinical trials for all types of cancer. You must be a MD Anderson patient before you are eligible to participate. Once you make your first appointment with us, you will be able to discuss clinical trial opportunities with your MD Anderson physician.
Where do I stay if I become a patient?
Generally, your first appointment and many of your treatments can be done on an outpatient basis. If you're traveling a long distance, check out our lodging and travel information for hotels, RV parks and other facilities in the Houston and Medical Center areas.
There are also several low-cost and long-term lodging options offered by MD Anderson. Our existing patients can contact the Social Work department for information about courtesy or low-cost housing, and other services that may be available to them. The Social Work department can be reached at 713-792-6195 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday.
How can I participate in the Moon Shots Program?
The Moon Shots Program consists of certain clinical trials/research for specific types of cancer. Patients need to be an existing patient at MD Anderson to participate in a moon shot clinical trial. Once you become a MD Anderson patient, your care team will talk to you about whether or not you are eligible.
Do you take my insurance?
If you are enrolled in a managed care plan (HMO, PPO or POS), your treatment at MD Anderson may be covered by insurance. Check our list of currently accepted insurance plans. If you don’t see your plan listed or you have insurance questions, call 888-242-6032.
Please note that this list is not comprehensive. It is typically up to the insurance company to determine if the plans they offer will allow access to MD Anderson. Insurance is also verified when going through the new patient appointment process. Please contact your insurance carrier to verify your coverage and/or benefits.
For many patients and caregivers, the first
visit to MD Anderson can be a little
daunting. On top of wondering how you and your family will cope with
diagnosis, you may be worried about everything from parking to
what to expect on your first day to whether your doctor will listen to
Below, several patients and caregivers share what they wish they'd known before coming to MD Anderson. We hope their insight helps make your first visit a little easier.
You're not just a number
"I wish I'd known that it's pretty easy to be a patient here. I was intimidated by stories of how going to MD Anderson is like being in a cattle call. I did not find that to be true at all. It's peaceful and, even though the size can be intimidating, there are so many forms of help and ways to ease the visit. MD Anderson is a place where I feel listened to and not like a number."
-- Brandie Sellers, two-time breast cancer survivor
We want to help you
"I wish I'd known how helpful and friendly all of the volunteers and staff are. If you're lost, just ask anyone you can find with an MD Anderson badge, and they will be happy to help you find where you are going."
-- Sandra Bishnoi, breast cancer patient
Research treatment options beforehand
"I wish we would have done more research on treatment options. While the doctors at MD Anderson are the best, it would have been nice to be able to participate more in the conversation regarding treatment options."
-- Jennifer Martin, cancer caregiver
Get your blood drawn early
"The Rotary House has a lab where you can get your blood drawn the evening before your clinic appointments. This can help you avoid a wait, and the lab results will be ready when you see your doctor."
-- Holly Easley, myelodysplastic syndrome survivor
Cheaper parking options exist
"Parking can get expensive. But you can save money by parking at the South Extension Lot at 1522 Braeswood Blvd. A free shuttle that will take you back and forth to MD Anderson throughout the day."
-- Terry Arnold, inflammatory breast cancer survivor
"It's cold, so bring a sweatshirt. Also, you may wait a long time. But if you're physically and mentally prepared to wait, then it's not a big deal."
-- Megan Silianoff, ovarian cancer survivor
It's okay to laugh
"No one is going to arrest you for laughing in the waiting room. Your first visit (and subsequent ones) can be very overwhelming and emotionally draining. It's important to make the most of it anyways. During my fiancé's drug trial at MD Anderson, we made an effort to enjoy our uninterrupted time together and find moments of joy within the dark ones. Although it was the hardest time of our life -- most days filled with bad news and tears -- we also remember it fondly because that time allowed us to connect in a much deeper way."
-- Katie Narvarte, cancer caregiver
Request an appointment at MD Anderson online or by calling 1-877-632-6789.
Last updated on Aug. 11, 2020
Despite communities beginning to lift “stay home” orders during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic , MD Anderson’s operations – including patient appointments – continue to be affected.
While MD Anderson is open for care, the organization must keep enhanced safety measures in place to reduce the potential for COVID-19 exposure on our campuses and protect the health of our patients and our employees. Cancer patients are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 because their immune systems are weakened due to treatment or the cancer itself.
“Our patient population represents the largest and densest immunocompromised population in the world,” says Peter WT Pisters, M.D., president of MD Anderson. “We must accept that we will co-exist with COVID-19 until we reach a widespread state of immunity. Our readiness to protect our patients and our workforce is crucial.”
So what changes can MD Anderson patients and families expect during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Making patient appointments during the coronavirus pandemic
Our process for new patients requesting MD Anderson appointments remains the same. Patients can self-refer online, or a physician may initiate the referral. Current patients should contact their care teams through MyChart, or by calling their clinic.
Our clinical teams will work with you to determine the most appropriate option for your care, which for current patients may include a virtual visit, care coordination in your local community if you live outside the Houston area, or visiting an MD Anderson location for your appointments and cancer treatment. Our goal is to reduce the number of visits to Houston to keep our patients safe, since traveling increases the risk of COVID-19 infection.
All new patients will be tested for COVID-19
MD Anderson is requiring all new patients to be tested for COVID-19
before their first visit. Your patient access representative will
schedule your appointment and give you more information.
You will need to be in Houston at least 36 hours prior to your new patient appointment for a scheduled COVID-19 nasal swab test at one of our testing locations. If you previously tested negative for COVID-19 at home, you will still need to be re-tested. Outside test results are helpful to care teams, but only MD Anderson COVID-19 testing is acceptable. Your results will be viewable in MyChart within 36 hours of your testing appointment.
- If your results are negative, you will be able to proceed to your appointment as scheduled.
- If your results are positive, you will be contacted by a provider to determine next steps.
- If your results are not available at the time of your appointment, your schedule may be adjusted.
We are also testing all inpatients at admission and are testing patients prior to:
- radiation therapy
- procedures in the operating room
- stem cell transplants
- certain cellular therapy infusions
- procedures that generate respiratory aerosols, involve and mucous membranes or incude significant coughing, such as a lung biopsy
We are also providing testing for patients when a household member has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 14 days. Outside test results are helpful to share with your care team, but they won't replace MD Anderson's COVID-19 nasal swab test, if your care team determines you need it. Your care team will provide more details if you are scheduled for COVID-19 nasal swab testing.
You’ll receive a MyChart COVID-19
questionnaire before your appointments
All patients will receive a MyChart questionnaire four days prior to their scheduled appointments to ask about symptoms and local COVID-19 testing by nasal swab. You may be requested to take a COVID-19 nasal swab test at MD Anderson, even if you aren’t experiencing symptoms.
What to expect when you arrive for an appointment during the COVID-19 pandemic
At our Texas Medical Center (TMC) Campus, there are specific entrances for patients, including:
- Main Building, The Pavilion valet entrance
- Main Building, The Aquarium valet entrance
- Main Building, Garage 10, Floor 3 skybridge
- Mays Clinic, East Lobby valet entrance
- Faculty Center, Floor 3, near Garage 17 entrance
Nearby parking garages are open, but our valet parking operations are suspended due to COVID-19.
If you are driving yourself to our Texas Medical Center Campus and need assistance from the garage into the building, please drive to either The Aquarium Valet entrance or Mays Clinic Valet. Our valet team will direct you on where to park. Then they will meet you at your garage with a wheelchair and help you get into the building. Our Patient Transportation team will take over once you're in the building.
As you enter our campus, you will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms and exposure, and provided a medical face mask to be worn throughout our campus. Even if you have your own fabric mask, we ask that you wear the mask you’re provided while you are on our campus, unless instructed by a member of your clinical team to remove it for care.
Social distancing measures are in place throughout MD Anderson. Some services and amenities are limited or closed to comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing guidelines and further protect our patients, including:
- Valet parking
- Café seating
- Hospitality Centers
- Patient Relaxation Area
- Beauty/Barber shop
- The Learning Centers
- Salus at our Houston-area locations
- Mail station in the Main Building
Grab-n-Go foods are still available at our dining locations, and limited, socially distanced seating is available at Cafe Anderson in the Main Building, Waterfall Cafe in Mays Clinic and Apicius in the Rotary House. Patients are also welcome to eat in public spaces, such as our lobbies and reception areas, while keeping a safe distance of 6 feet away from others. Gift shops at our TMC Campus are open.