Child and Adolescent Telepsychiatry

childandadolescenttelespychiatry.jpgChild and Adolescent Psychiatry is among the most under-served of medical specialties. The shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists in Washington and the surrounding states often leaves primary care as the sole potential mental health prescriber for a child, placing a significant burden on professionals who may lack the time and resources to adequately address child mental health needs. Telepsychiatry can provide consultation to primary care providers who are taking care of children experiencing mental health conditions, and can deliver direct services to kids.

The Partnership Access Line (PAL) at Seattle Children's Hospital is a child psychiatry consultation program operating in Washington and Wyoming specifically designed to support primary care providers, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants in providing effective mental health care. Providers may call about any type of mental health issue that arises about any child, either prior to seeing a patient to prepare for the visit or while the patient is present. PAL takes each call as a ‘teachable moment,’ instructing the provider around caring for a particular child while building capacity to administer similar care in the future. In specific cases, the PAL program also offers a one-time in-person or telemedicine appointment for patients. The PAL team has done more than 10,000 provider-to-provider consultations in Washington, including over 8,000 consults and over 2,000 medication Second Opinion Reviews.

UW child and adolescent psychiatrists located at Seattle Children’s Hospital also provide medication reviews for Alaska, Washington and Wyoming and Multidisciplinary team (MDT) psychiatric evaluations funded by the state of Wyoming.

The Seattle Children’s Telemental Health (TMH) Service offers direct care to children, adolescents and their families in Washington and Alaska. Several models are available. At community mental health centers, the TMH Service contracts for protected blocks of time to work with patients’ therapists and case managers to care for youth with severe mental and behavioral healthcare needs. In a fee-based model, the TMH Service collaborates with primary care providers to evaluate and treat youth at Seattle Children’s satellite clinics. In 2019, the TMH Service started home-based services for families with authorized third party payers. Since its inception in 2001, the Telemental Health Services has treated over 5,000 youth. For more information visit Seattle Children’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine.

As part of its teaching mission, the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in collaboration with Seattle Children's offers trainees the opportunity for telepsychiatry rotations providing direct care to children and adolescents focused on diagnostic assessments, consultation to referring physicians, and/or pharmacotherapy. For more information, contact our Education Office at psychres@u.washington.edu.
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