The Relationship Between Linkages to Behavioral Health Services in Pediatric Primary Care and Reductions in Non-urgent Emergency Department Visits Among Vulnerable Children

Kalpana Pethe, Angel R. Maldonado-Soto, Juhi Saxena, Evelyn J. Blanck, Katherine A. Lingras, Yumiko Aratani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The integration of behavioral health (BH) services within pediatric primary care has been utilized as a way to address young children’s social-emotional needs. This study aimed to examine whether linking at-risk young children to BH services is associated with a reduction in “non-urgent” emergency department (ED) visits. BH teams integrated in a pediatric clinic conducted socio-emotional screening in children 6–65 months of age and tracked ED utilization for children with positive screening. The results indicated that children with positive screening are less likely to have a non-urgent ED visit than children with negative screening with concerns (NWC) and are more likely to be connected to services. Among children in the NWC group, those connected to services were less likely to have non-urgent ED visits than those not connected to services. These findings suggest that integrated behavioral health care has the potential to reduce non-urgent ED visits among at-risk children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-387
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Behavioral Health Services and Research
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020

Keywords

  • Behavioral health problems
  • Emergency department utilization
  • Integrated behavioral health services
  • Pediatric primary care

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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