New Telepsychiatry Program from University of Washington Connects Providers
The University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences launched a new service to help prescribing providers in Washington — including providers in the UW Medicine Accountable Care Network — receive clinical advice regarding adult patients (18+) with mental health and/or substance use disorders. Funded by the Washington State Legislature, the UW Psychiatry Consultation Line (PCL) helps address the severe shortage of mental health professionals in the state by providing consultation to providers working in primary care clinics, community hospitals, emergency departments, and county and municipal correctional facilities.
How does PCL work?Providers call 877-WA-PSYCH (877-927-7924) and after a short intake with a UW health navigator, are connected to a UW psychiatrist. At the conclusion of the conversation, the UW psychiatrist will send a brief written documentation of the recommendations to the caller via email.The consultation line is staffed Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will transition to 24/7 staffing beginning July 1, 2020. Providers calling outside of business hours can leave a message, which will be returned within one working day. There is no limit to how many times a provider can call.Who is eligible to call?Prescribing health care providers in Washington state from:
- primary care clinics
- community hospitals and emergency departments
- county and municipal correctional facilities
Why would I call?You have questions about:
- Assessment and diagnosis
- Treatment planning, including medication management or other treatments
Most callers have questions regarding assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning, including management of antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, antipsychotic medications and medications for substance use. After the consultation, the psychiatrist sends written documentation of the recommendations to the caller via email. The service is free for the caller.
“We want to leverage the mental health experts we have at UW Medicine and improve access to mental health consultation to providers across the state when and where they need it,” says Dr. Jürgen Unützer, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. “There is a real need for mental health expertise.”
Increased access to mental health care can lead to an earlier diagnosis, improved adherence to treatment and better patient outcomes.
The PCL complements two other provider-to-provider mental health consultation lines affiliated with UW Medicine: the Partnership Access Line (PAL), based out of Seattle Children’s, is for providers who are caring for children or adolescents experiencing a mental health or substance use condition; and PAL for Moms is for providers caring for pregnant or new moms experiencing a mental health or substance use condition. Providers calling the PCL have the option of being connected to one of these other lines as needed.