For Referring Physicians

How to Refer Your Patients

Male doctor with teenage boy.

How to Refer a Patient

Please contact the Office of Patient Recruitment to find out if your patient's diagnosis may be of interest to investigators. Call 1-800-411-1222 or e-mail us at

If your patient's disease is under active investigation, you may be asked to submit the diagnosis and medical history in writing to the principal investigator. If medical records are in a language other than English, an English translation should be provided. In cases where translation is not feasible, a clearly typed summary in the foreign language (typically, 3 - 5 pages) containing pertinent information about the case is recommended.


Patients accepted to participate in a clinical research protocol are not asked to pay for their medical, surgical, and other hospital care. Patients must usually pay for their own transportation to the hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. The Clinical Center Social Work Department is available to help prospective patients with personal problems concerning admission. Financial assistance is available only in certain emergency situations.


  • Patients may be referred by a physician or dentist in private practice, hospital, clinical, or other medical organization.
  • The patient's specific disease or condition must be under active investigation by NIH physicians at the time of admission.
  • Each institute considers age, weight, sex, general health, and length of the waiting list for qualified patients as criteria for admission. The possibility of long-term inpatient stays and extended follow up is also considered. Apart from these medical considerations, there are no other restrictions based on race, creed, age, sex, or color.
  • Patients must have a responsible understanding of their role in a research protocol.

Length of Stay

Admission to the Clinical Center is for research purposes only. Patients will return to the care of their referring physicians or institution, or to their families, when their participation in a protocol ends and their medical condition permits. Each institute's clinical director makes this determination.

How Do I Get More Information on Referring a Patient to a Study?

If you would like to refer a patient to an NIH research study or have questions about any of the research studies conducted at the NIH Clinical Center, call the Office of Patient Recruitment at 1-800-411-1222.

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This page last updated on 08/03/2023

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