Emergency Psychiatry Service Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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What happens to my child in the ER?

Your child will be medically evaluated when he or she comes to the ER. Even if your child's condition seems primarily psychiatric in nature, he or she must be medically evaluated first to rule out any conditions that may be confused with a psychiatric issue.

Once your child has been medically evaluated, he or she will be seen by one of our team members for a psychiatric evaluation. Both you and your child will be interviewed separately. Often, we provide crisis stabilization in the ER.

After your child is evaluated, we will make treatment recommendations and facilitate aftercare that may include inpatient and outpatient care. Aftercare may include care provided at Children's or at another mental health facility.

What about insurance coverage?

Boston Children's is not an authorized psychiatric care site for some insurance companies. Please check ahead of time to make sure your plan covers a visit to the Emergency Psychiatry Service for your child. You can do this by:

  • calling 617-355-6369 to reach Boston Children's psychiatric clinician-on-call or

  • calling the phone number on the back of your insurance card

  • If your child is at immediate risk for self-harm or is a danger to others, call 911 immediately.

Calling Ahead

Before bringing your child to the Boston Children's Hospital ER for a mental health crisis, please be sure to check ahead of time to make sure your insurance plan covers a visit by calling us at 617-355-6369, and asking for the psychiatric clinician-on-call, you can:

  • verify whether your insurance covers psychiatric services at Boston Children's

  • potentially access crisis evaluation services outside the ER, thereby avoiding a lengthy ER visit

We will never deny a child emergency psychiatry care when they come to Boston Children's. However, once stabilized, children without insurance coverage here will be referred to another hospital or psychiatric treatment facility where he or she will be covered.

You may also determine whether your insurance plan covers a visit to the Emergency Psychiatry Service for your child by calling the phone number on the back of your insurance card.

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Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944