The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences recently 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.
Providers can call 877-WA-PSYCH (877-927-7924) and, after a short intake with a health navigator, they are connected to a UW Medicine psychiatrist.
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 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.
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.
Guest Writer: Rebecca Sladek