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How is the Pediatric Diagnostic Program different from requesting a second opinion?

When faced with complex medical questions, having an expert opinion from the world’s leading experts can provide peace of mind.

The Pediatric Diagnostic Program is designed to help families whose children have complex or unclear symptoms get the clarifying diagnosis they need. Our team of specialists works collaboratively with your child’s primary care team to develop a diagnostic and treatment plan that best meets the needs of your child and family.

Boston Children’s also offers in-person or online second opinions for patients already diagnosed with a condition. With each option, it is our goal to provide you with all the information you need to be confident your child is getting the best care.

When should I schedule my child’s appointment?

Before scheduling an appointment, we will need to review your child’s medical records. You will receive medical release forms from Boston Children’s and be asked to complete in its entirety, including all practices and health care institutions that have seen your child (including counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other behavioral health providers). While it may seem like a lot of information to send, having a complete picture will help us be more efficient and thorough as we evaluate your child.

Please complete all required forms and return to us via email at, fax at 617-730-4645, or mail to:

Boston Children's Hospital
Pediatric Diagnostic Program BCH 3261
300 Longwood Ave.
Boston, MA 02115

Will my child’s primary care provider be involved?

Yes, because not only do primary care providers often have an over-arching perspective that is very useful, but also they are generally the person who will be coordinating care after our evaluation. It is important that patients have a primary care provider we can reach out to and work with as we formulate the best plan for your child moving forward. We do not follow patients long-term.

What are at the next steps?

Once we have all of your information, our care team will contact you to schedule your child’s initial appointment. The timing of that appointment will depend on your child’s situation and also on the availability of other specialists your child might need to see. In some cases, after reviewing the medical records, we may decide that a visit to our program isn’t the best choice for a child and family. We may determine that your child would be better served by seeing a particular specialty instead of our program, in which case, we will facilitate that appointment.

Should I contact our health-insurance provider before scheduling an appointment?

It’s important to contact your insurance provider to confirm your visits at Boston Children’s will be covered under your policy. Some insurance carriers may have different standards for covering behavioral-health services vs. medical services, so be sure to ask about coverage. We are happy to assist you throughout this process. It’s important to note that you will be responsible for any balances not covered by your insurance. For any questions regarding your financial obligations, call our Patient Financial Services team at 617-355-3397.

What if we need to travel a distance to visit Boston Children’s Pediatric Diagnostic Program?

If you are traveling from a distance, the Hale Family Center for Families can assist in making recommendations for accommodations during your visit. You may reach them at 617-355-6279.

For families residing outside of the U.S., contact Boston Children's Global Services. They will help facilitate your visit.