Psychiatry Consultation Service | Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: What does the Psychiatry Consultation Service do?

A: Our service at Boston Children's Hospital provides mental health care for children and families who are dealing with emotional and psychological stress due to medical illness and hospitalization. We offer short-term therapy and consultations for these patients.

Q: Who does the Psychiatry Consultation Service treat?

A: We treat patients who are currently admitted to a medical inpatient or surgical floor at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Q: What types of issues do you help children and families with?

A: We support patients and their families in the following ways:

  • Help your child and family adjust to a new or chronic medical illness
  • Help your child and family understand the connection between the mind and body and how they affect each other
  • Teach cognitive and behavioral techniques to help your child manage stress
  • Develop and implement behavioral techniques to help your child follow a treatment plan
  • Help your child and family prepare for a procedure or surgery
  • Evaluate for different conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, somatic symptoms, trauma, substance use and others
  • Conduct medication evaluations and treatment
  • Make a referral for outpatient psychological and psychiatric services
  • Help transfer your child to more intensive levels of psychiatric care if needed
  • Support your child and family while going through solid organ transplantation
  • Provide emotional support while on a critical care unit

Q: Do you also work with members of my child’s medical treatment team?

A: Yes. The Psychiatry Consultation Service works closely with your child’s medical team which includes physicians, nurses, and other medical providers. Members of the medical treatment team may request our services at any time. We also educate clinicians about the important relationship between physical illness and psychological distress.

Q: How can I make an appointment with the Psychiatry Consultation Service for my child?

A: While you may request an appointment for your child once he or she has been admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital, you will first need to obtain approval from your child’s attending physician.

Q: At what times is the Psychiatry Consultation Service available?

A: Mental health clinicians in our Psychiatry Consultation Service are available from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday. If you would like to speak to a mental health provider after-hours on weekdays, or at any time on weekends, please ask a member of your child’s medical team to contact the on-call psychiatrist.

Q: Will my insurance cover your services?

A:  Many insurance plans cover the care provided by the Psychiatry Consultation Service.

However, some insurance plans arrange for their mental/behavioral health services to be managed differently than their medical services. In these cases, Boston Children’s Hospital Psychiatry Consultation Service may not be in your plan’s approved behavioral health network—even though your plan covers medical care provided by Boston Children’s Hospital. 

If your behavioral health plan does not cover care given by the Psychiatry Consultation Service—or if authorization is necessary for any other reason—we will do all we can to obtain the necessary approvals. Please note that the decision to authorize or deny coverage is made solely by your insurance provider. If you have questions or concerns about insurance coverage for mental health services, please contact your insurance plan using the number on the back of your subscriber identification card.

Q: I have received a bill for your services. What should I do?

A: The charges for Psychiatry Consultation Service care will be listed separately from your bill for your child’s medical care at Boston Children’s Hospital. Our services are billed under the name of your child’s treating psychiatrist or psychologist.

If you have received a bill for care provided by the Psychiatry Consultation Service, this means that your insurance provider does not cover all of the related charges. Please call 617-355-3397 with questions about billing.

Q: What if my family cannot afford care or does not have insurance?

A: The Psychiatry Consultation Service treats children and families regardless of their financial circumstances. If you have specific questions about affording care, please speak with your child’s treating psychiatrist or psychologist.

Q: Do you offer follow-up services on an outpatient basis?

A: The Psychiatry Consultation Service does not see patients or families on an outpatient basis. However, we are happy to refer you to our Psychiatry Outpatient Services for ongoing care after your child is discharged. Please call 617-355-6688 for more information about outpatient psychiatric services at Boston Children’s.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital
300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115
For Patients: 617-355-6000
For Referring Providers: 844-BCH-PEDS | 844-224-7337

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