UW Medicine psychiatric consult line for providers expands to 24/7
UW Medicine announced on Wednesday its statewide Psychiatry Consultation Line (PCL) will now be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The PCL offers consultation services to health care providers providing care to adults with behavioral health problems.
According to UW Medicine, the Psychiatry Consultation Line has received calls from providers in 25 of Washington’s counties. Most calls come from primary care clinics, but the consultation line offers providers from all types of facilities the chance to consult with UW Medicine psychiatrists. Calls typically last 15-20 minutes and providers are offered a written summary of recommendations related to a range of issues including diagnosis and treatment planning.
The service, which is funded by the state, launched a year ago and was previously staffed 5 days a week.
Jürgen Unützer, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at UW Medicine, says this expansion in services is particularly critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are seeing increased stress in individuals with pre-existing mental-health or substance-use disorders, who may be socially isolated and have reduced access to their usual treatment programs or support systems,” he said.
A recent report from the Washington State Dept. of Health predicts Washingtonians will soon face a surge in behavioral health challenges due to COVID-19. The DOH predicts upwards of 2 to 3 million Washingtonians will likely experience clinically significant behavioral health symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and acute stress in the next 3 to 6 months.
UW Medicine also has separate consultation phone numbers available for providers with child, adolescent, and perinatal psychiatry questions.