Seattle Children's Provider News

Hospital Capacity Update

Hospital capacity in Washington State

  • The Washington Medical Control Center (WMCC) is reporting a decrease in calls after their record numbers in December. WMCC is the regional transfer center developed during COVID-19 to ensure statewide situational awareness and to balance patient distribution across the state.
  • Hospitals across the state continue to report heavy adult ED boarding and most large hospital systems still have a census above 100%.
  • SARS-CoV2 is rising nationally and another surge is expected but we are not seeing significant rises in adult or pediatric hospitalizations for COVID-19 at this time.
  • The large pediatric patient surge we experienced in November has improved over the last two months.  There have not been any pediatric transfers that required WMCC since January 13.


Capacity at Seattle Children’s

  • The Emergency Department (ED) is seeing lower volumes than the record numbers of patients seen in November and is back to regular high winter volumes.   We continue to have high mental health boarding in the ED with high acuity with occasional longer waiting times.
  • Seattle Children’s inpatient census has remained above our historical baseline with high patient acuity and technological needs.
  • We are monitoring viral curves closely for RSV/influenza/other viruses.  We have seen a downward trend overall but will know more in the next few weeks.  We have not seen Influenza B yet but it generally follows Influenza A in late winter or early spring.
  • We are going live this week with a new post-procedural short stay unit to increase operative capacity that does not impact inpatient bed spaces.


When sending patients to the ED

  • Our ED is open and ready to care for your patients; please do not hesitate to send patients when the ED is the appropriate setting for care.
  • When sending patients to the ED, please call our ED Communications Center at 206-987-8899 to help us plan for their arrival.
  • Let families know they may experience longer waits for non-critical issues and that we continue to triage to identify and see the most emergent patients first.


We continue to be deeply grateful to our colleagues in the community who are working relentlessly to care for pediatric patients in primary care and preserve capacity in hospitals and urgent cares for those patients who need it most.  Thank you!


For more information:

How the Fetal Care and Treatment Center Is Focused on Expanding Services and Close-to-Home Care: A Q&A With Drs. Bettina Paek, Martin Walker and Bhawna Arya

Maternal-fetal surgeons Drs. Bettina Paek and Martin Walker review a patient’s scan.

Last year, Seattle Children’s brought on board renowned fetal intervention specialists Drs. Bettina Paek and Martin Walker to lead Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine’s new Maternal Fetal Intervention and Surgery program alongside Dr. Rebecca Stark. As members of the Fetal Care and Treatment Center at Seattle Children’s, they are part of a multi-disciplinary team that offers fetal diagnosis and treatment and helps parents understand what to expect after their child is born. The team includes more than four dozen specialists in maternal-fetal medicine, neonatology, cardiology, urology, nephrology, neurology, otolaryngology, craniofacial, surgery, genetics, and radiology.

Over the last year, the Center performed 2,449 fetal echocardiograms across the WAMI region, more than any other provider group in the Pacific NW, with more than 99% accuracy of prenatal diagnosis of major heart conditions. Drs. Paek and Walker performed 34 laser ablation procedures for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) at the University of Washington Medical Center Montlake Campus (UWMC), with dual survival for more than 90% of the procedures (compared to a national average of 60%).

Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Bhawna Arya, director of Fetal Diagnosis, reviews a scan with a patient.

Our Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Program (CDH) team, led by Dr. Rebecca Stark, diagnosed 16 babies with CDH who required newborn surgery and achieved over a 90% average survival rate, again significantly higher than the national average.

We spoke with Drs. Walker and Dr. Paek, as well as with Dr. Bhawna Arya, who leads Seattle Children’s fetal diagnosis program with Dr. Edith Cheng and fetal cardiology, to hear about what is coming in 2023 and answer questions commonly asked by community providers.

  Read full post »

Introducing the First Issue of Seattle Children’s Cardiac Beat

Our Heart Center is proud to introduce the inaugural edition of Seattle Children’s Cardiac Beat. In the first issue, you’ll find information about:

Seattle Children’s Cardiac Beat will publish news and information about the latest diagnostic, therapeutic and research advances in cardiovascular diseases and cardiac surgery at Seattle Children’s.



VADs and Video Games: How Hudson’s Heart Benefitted From the Latest Treatments and a Comprehensive Care Team

February is National Heart Month.

When a child’s heart is failing, Seattle Children’s Heart Center is equipped to deliver the latest lifesaving treatments from a caring team with the most experience and best outcomes in t

For Hudson, who has a rare form of muscular dystrophy that precipitously weakened his heart at age 9, the Heart Center’s cardiologists turned over every stone to treat his heart failure and buy time for him to get a new heart.

The latest treatments

Hudson’s care team used the latest ventricular assist device (VAD) technology to keep his heart going. Seattle Children’s is the only pediatric heart center in the Pacific Northwest with the depth of expertise to offer every type of therapy for heart failure, including VADs. We offer many types of VADs, including newer options not available at every hospital. Some patients will use more than one VAD.

Hudson first had an Impella VAD implanted when medication wasn’t working. It can be inserted with a small incision through an arm artery and can stabilize a patient before a bigger surgery. It’s a less invasive, less permanent option that in Hudson’s case was a stepping stone to a more durable, larger VAD. Read full post »

Empowering Primary Care Providers to Support Mental and Behavioral Health

Written by Katie Scaff for Seattle Children’s On the Pulse

Seattle Children’s Care Network (SCCN) Integrated Behavioral Health Program helps kids receive behavioral health services from specialists embedded in their primary care clinic.

Seattle Children’s has teamed up with primary care pediatricians in the Puget Sound region to implement a new approach to address the growing youth mental health crisis.

Seattle Children’s Care Network (SCCN) and Seattle Children’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine launched a Pediatric Integrated Behavioral Health Program in 2020 to provide children and their families with the mental and behavioral health support they need earlier and closer to home.

The innovative program aims to empower primary care teams to identify, manage and coordinate mental and behavioral health services within their community settings with the long-term goal of alleviating pressure on hospitals and specialty care practices.

“We know we can make a difference for a significant number of kids with mental and behavioral health conditions,” said Dr. Sheryl Morelli, chief medical officer for Seattle Children’s Care Network. “By screening and treating kids in primary care, when appropriate, more kids can receive treatment and we can create capacity in the system. The program takes a bigger, population health approach to meeting the behavioral mental health need of kids in our community.”

Read full post »

Mental Health Care in the Primary Care Setting: FAST Training Event Series

The Partnership Access Line (PAL) is offering another series of free training events for PCPs and primary care–based behavioral health providers in Washington, starting February 28, 2023. The First Approach Skills Training (FAST) team will offer live, interactive trainings for treating anxiety, depression, behavior problems, posttraumatic stress, teen behavior challenges and early childhood concerns in integrated primary care settings.


FAST programs are designed to provide brief, evidence-based behavioral therapy for youth and families in primary care clinics and other settings where long-term treatment is not usually offered.

Program materials were developed by child and adolescent psychologists Drs. Nat Jungbluth, Erin Gonzalez, Kendra Read, Jennifer Blossom, Jessica Jenness and Maggie Sibley, with funding support from the Washington State Healthcare Authority.

Providers can learn more about FAST and access free assessment tools for initial screening, treatment planning and progress monitoring on the FAST website.

2023 Legislative Priorities: Helping Kids “Stuck” in the Hospital

With the 2023 Washington state legislative session underway as of January 9, Seattle Children’s top priority for the session continues to be youth mental health. In particular, we are urging legislators to support a package of recommendations that will prevent children from being stuck in hospitals’ inpatient psychiatric units and emergency departments (EDs) and help them instead be supported at home, in the community or with residential services.


The issue of inadequate services/supports contributing to child abandonment in hospitals is longstanding and felt statewide. Exacerbating the problem has been a change in the legal interpretation of the term “abandoned” by the Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) in April 2021 wherein state agencies no longer step in when children are abandoned in EDs. As a result of this gap in our system, and no state plan to fill it, we estimate that at least 15 patients at Seattle Children’s stayed longer than was medically necessary, resulting in more than 700 days hospitalized unnecessarily. At both Seattle Children’s and Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, some patients in this circumstance were admitted unnecessarily for a year or longer.

Read full post »

Roundup of Seattle Children’s Impact in FY2022

Seattle Children’s annual Facts and Stats is now available online. It offers a snapshot of Seattle Children’s in FY 2022, including:

  • 373,939 patient visits
  • 9,490 workforce members
  • 10 regional clinics and 24 outreach sites and clinics across Washington, Alaska, Montana, Idaho (WAMI)
  • 11,250 outpatient surgeries and 3,902 inpatient surgeries
  • $260,659,000 in uncompensated care
  • Ranked 5th in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding among pediatric research institutions

Find more information online at Seattle Children’s Facts and Stats: FY 2022 or download the Seattle Children’s Facts and Stats brochure.

Read full post »

CMEs, Grand Rounds and Other Events

Category 1 CME Series

  • Practical Pediatrics, February 4, 2023, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Seattle Children’s hospital campus, Wright Auditorium. Course covers diagnostic and management updates to address gaps in practice encountered in primary care of children. In-person. Brochure. Register Now.
  • Urgent Pediatric Problems, March 4, 2023, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Sand Point Learning Center near Seattle Children’s. Brochure.


Youth suicide prevention: “Promising Practices,” February 2, 2023, 8:45 a.m. to 2 p.m. Presenters will discuss techniques and interventions successfully being used to build resiliency in youth. Resilience is a known protective factor for suicide prevention and mental health. This event is part of the UW Forefront Suicide Prevention three-part virtual series and is open to anyone who works with youth including clinicians, researchers, educators, public health professionals and leaders. Register here.


Provider Grand Rounds

Year-round on Thursdays from 8 to 9 a.m. Learn more.

  • February 2, 2023: Complementary and Integrative Medicine for ADHD: Navigating a Confusing Evidence Base. Klavano Holistic Care Lecture. Douglas Russell, MD, Assistant Professor, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, UW; Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Seattle Children’s.
  • February 9, 2023: Whole Child Health: How Can We Best Support a Child’s Health-Related Social Needs? Sconyers/Godfrey Ethics Lecture. Charlene Wong, MD, MSPH, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, Duke Clinical Research Institute; Holly Vo, MD, MPH, Fellow, Pediatrics Pulmonary and Clinical Bioethics, Seattle Children’s.
  • February 16, 2023: No Grand Rounds.
  • February 23, 2023: The Impact of Neonatal Neurocritical Care. Ulrike Mietzsch, MD, Co-Director NeuroNICU, Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, UW Division of Neonatology, Seattle Children’s.
  • March 2, 2023: Protect Kids, Not Guns: The Pediatrician’s Role in Preventing Firearm Fatalities. Eric Fleegler, MD, MPH, FAAP, Boston Children’s Hospital, Division of Emergency Medicine
    Director, Sedation Service, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, Harvard Medical School.


Nursing Grand Rounds

First Thursday of every month from 1 to 2 p.m. Learn more.

  • February 2, 2023: Heart Failure. Erin Albers, MD, MSCI, Seattle Children’s Heart Center, Heart Failure/Transplant team.


Psychiatry Grand Rounds

First Friday of every month October through June from 8 to 9:20 a.m. Learn more.

  • February 3, 2023: Suicide Prevention and Intervention for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Brenna Maddox, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, TEACCH Autism Program, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.

New Medical Staff

Medical Staff

Robert Buckley, MD, Neurosurgery

Samuel Nutt Emerson, MD, Neurosurgery


Allied Health Professionals

Charlotte Wimel, ARNP, Psychology

Danielle Braunstein, ARNP, Pediatrics

Alexis Brown, ARNP, Pediatrics

Kathryn Free, ARNP, Endocrinology

Kristine Lavin, ARNP, Emergency

Alvina Isarankura Wong, ARNP, Pediatrics

Mary Frances Wright, ARNP, Endocrinology

Jennifer Bryson, ARNP, Surgical hospitalist

Shannan Van Houten, PA-C, Surgery

Kathryn Free, ARNP, Endocrinology

Brent Stewart, Jr., PhD, Psychology

Rachel Albert, PA-C, Pediatrics

Kristina Callen, PA-C, Pediatrics

Nicole Cardenas Carlos, PA-C, Pediatrics