Seattle Children's Provider News

5 Important Things to Know About the Washington Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens

1. There IS a Washington Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens!

Washington’s Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens connects families to licensed providers in their local area with current availability who fit a child’s mental health needs and insurance coverage. Washington Healthcare Authority funds the referral service and Seattle Children’s operates it.

The service launched in Spring 2019, but many health care providers still don’t know about it. If you have been a subscriber to Provider News for the last year, you may have seen our April 2019 launch announcement and our update in August about the service growing.

2. It connects families to mental health providers who actually have availability and take the child’s insurance.

One of the unique features of the Washington Mental Health Referral Service is that families get connected with mental health providers who actually have availability to see their child. When a family receives a referral, it includes providers who take their child’s insurance.

There are more than 1700 pediatric mental health providers currently identified by the service. Read full post »

Cancellation of Classes and Events at Seattle Children’s

To help contain the spread of COVID-19 in our community, Seattle Children’s is canceling large group gatherings taking place at our facilities, including those with attendees from the community (e.g. CMEs, classes, conferences, PALS courses, etc.). Some Grand Rounds may be moved to WebEx rather than cancelled. Please check with event organizers if you have questions or need additional information. If you are registered for an event and it is moved to WebEx only, event organizers will notify you. Read full post »

CMEs and Conferences

To help keep our staff, patients and their families safe as the situation with COVID-19 rapidly changes, CMEs and other large-group events are temporarily being cancelled, rescheduled or moved to WebEx. Organizers will let registrants know of any changes.


March 21: Olympia PAL Program CME

8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

The PAL Program is hosting a free child mental health educational conference for primary care providers.

Patient at Seattle Children’s North Clinic Tests Positive for COVID-19: February 28, 2020

A patient who visited Seattle Children’s North Clinic on Monday, February 24 has been tested for COVID-19. Initial test results have come back positive for COVID-19. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is currently performing additional testing; the patient is presumed positive.

Following CDC and Public Health guidance for patients with symptoms of a respiratory infection, the patient put on a mask shortly after arriving and was put in appropriate isolation.

Visit the Washington State Department of Health site for more information.

We are reaching out to workforce members and patient families who may have been exposed with information and guidance.

Since the beginning of January, leaders at Children’s have been preparing for the possibility of a COVID-19 pandemic and planning how to care for patients who test positive.

How will you be notifying families who were potentially exposed and their PCPs?

Both Seattle Children’s and King County Public health will be contacting any families or staff who may have exposed. We will be reaching out to the PCPs of any patients who were potentially exposed.

How should PCPs refer patients with suspected COVID-19?

PCPs who are caring for a patient with suspected COVID-19 should first contact Public Health-Seattle & King County. If, after discussing with Public Health, the decision is made to send the patient to Children’s, the PCP should first notify the ED Communications Center at 206-987-8899.

The viral respiratory panel used at Seattle Children’s does not detect this virus. If the panel detects coronavirus it is due to a different strain.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They usually cause mild respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that was not seen in humans prior to December 2019. For more information, please review the coronavirus information sheet.

What should families do if they think they were exposed to COVID-19?

If a family thinks they were exposed to COVID-19, they should contact their primary care provider and Public Health – Seattle & King County by calling 1-800-525-0127 and pressing #. Unless it is an emergency, families should not go to their nearest emergency room without calling ahead so Public Health can take steps to provide them with the right treatment and protect others from a possible exposure. Please direct families to the Public Health-Seattle & King County website for more information.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information about COVID-19 visit;


Operating Rooms Re-Opened

On February 25, we re-opened our hospital campus operating rooms that were previously closed.

Over the last several months, we have implemented and completed a number of safety improvements which include:

  • Installing a new rooftop air handling system
  • Installing in-room HEPA filtration systems in our ORs; this is the highest level of filtration found in ORs today

During the intermittent closures of our operating rooms, we performed some surgeries at partner hospitals including Harborview, Swedish, UW Medical Center and Mary Bridge. We are grateful for their support.

Rescheduling surgeries

We are taking a thoughtful approach to rescheduling surgeries that were postponed due to the closure, including reviewing surgeries on a daily basis to assess urgency and priority. It will take time to reschedule them all; our scheduling team is contacting families now to begin this work.

How should we refer patients with possible surgical needs?

Please follow our normal referral process.

Findings by CMS and DOH

After we self-reported the air quality issues to the DOH, the DOH conducted site visits, reviewed records, and interviewed staff. The DOH closed its investigation on January 8, 2020 concluding that there were no deficiencies. CMS conducted a site visit on December 10, 2019 from which there were no findings. Seattle Children’s fully cooperated with these reviews and we were encouraged that the investigations were closed with no findings.

For more information, read our complete FAQ for providers.

Providers who would like to speak with Seattle Children’s leadership team directly should contact Dr. Jeff Ojemann, Seattle Children’s surgeon-in-chief (206-987-2544 or [email protected]).

If you have an urgent clinical concern, please call the Provider-to-Provider Line at 206-987-7777 and ask to speak to the specific surgical service on call.

Headache Management in Primary Care: A Q&A With Dr. Heidi Blume

Heidi Blume

Heidi Blume

What are some important things to know about pediatric headaches?

Heidi Blume, MD, MPH, principal investigator, Seattle Children’s: Unfortunately, headaches are very common in pediatrics. One study found that over 10% of school-aged kids and more than 20% of teens had “frequent or severe” headaches in the past year, and about 5% of younger children and 20% of teen girls have migraines.

Headache is a frequent complaint in both primary care and the ED, and many families are afraid that something dangerous, like a tumor or aneurism, is causing headaches. Fortunately, this is very rare.

Many things can contribute to headaches, including genes (family history of migraine), poor sleep, poor hydration or nutrition, stress/anxiety/depression, other medical problems (e.g., anemia, thyroid abnormalities, rheumatological disorders), dental problems, concussion, pregnancy, drug abuse, musculoskeletal pain (e.g., from slouching over a laptop or other screen for hours) or medications (e.g., stimulants or tetracyclines). Thus, it is reasonable to consider workup for other underlying disorders when appropriate in the evaluation of a youth with headaches. Read full post »

Coronavirus Update

Seattle Children’s is preparing for the 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). A Provider News special bulletin on Jan. 24 provided information about the plans we have in place for detection and prevention of the virus. To date, no Seattle Children’s patients have tested positive for 2019-nCoV.

Primary care providers (PCPs) who are caring for a patient with suspected 2019-nCoV should first contact Public Health-Seattle & King County. If, after discussing with Public Health, the decision is made to send the patient to Seattle Children’s, the PCP should first notify our Emergency Department (ED) Communications Center at 206-987-8899.

Visit Public Health-Seattle & King County’s website for a complete list of resources for families and healthcare professionals.

Read Seattle Children’s Jan. 24 bulletin on the coronavirus.

Read full post »

New Referral Guidelines and Algorithms for Otolaryngology

Seattle Children’s Otolaryngology website now includes a new “Refer a Patient” page with detailed guidelines and resources for PCPs about referring patients to Otolaryngology. It includes information about when to refer patients for conditions such as strep throat, ear infections, sinusitis (nasal drainage/rhinitis) and tonsillar hypertrophy and how to manage these conditions in primary care when that is the appropriate setting for care. Read full post »

New Algorithm Page

Referring providers can now find algorithms created by Seattle Children’s specialists on our website on the new “Algorithms for Referring Providers” page. They are listed A to Z by disease type. They are also found on the “Refer a Patient” pages on the specialty clinic websites. Click here to see a full list. The “Refer a Patient” pages were written specifically for referring providers to offer helpful guidelines on how and when to refer patients to a specialist, what to expect after a referral is made and how to get help with a referral. Read full post »

Managing Tics in Primary Care: New Resource for PCPs

Our Neurosciences Center recently developed a standard of care for tic disorders/Tourette syndrome to assist referring providers (see below). It offers a provider checklist with helpful resources, including a list of local therapy resources in Western Washington and Yakima.

Tic Disorders/Tourette Syndrome Policy


  • Gilles de la Tourette syndrome (Tourette syndrome) is an early childhood-onset neurodevelopmental disorder marked by the appearance of multiple involuntary movements and vocalizations, referred to as “tics.”
  • Tourette syndrome is commonly associated with comorbid conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorder and other behavioral problems.
  • According to some reports, 80% to 90% of patients with Tourette syndrome have both tics and psychiatric manifestations.
  • These comorbid disorders can cause significant functional impairment and poor self-esteem and can affect the quality of life of patients with Tourette syndrome.

Read full post »