The PCL offers care providers in Washington the opportunity to consult with a UW Psychiatrist about adult patients (18+) with mental health issues and/or substance use disorders. The service provides immediate “curbside consultation” followed by a brief, written summary of the recommendations sent via email to the calling provider typically within 1 business day.
Prescribing providers in Washington can call any time 24/7. Beginning January 23, non-prescribing providers in Washington can call the line as well between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).
To support providers in the community who are taking care of patients experiencing mental health conditions, including substance use disorders, by providing convenient access to consultation. Increased access to mental health care can lead to earlier diagnosis, improved adherence to evidence-based treatment, and better patient outcomes.
All care providers based in Washington are eligible to call the Psychiatry Consultation Line. While the caller must be a Washington provider, the patient may live in another state.
Patients, family and caregivers are NOT eligible to call.
Beginning in January 2023, we expanded to allow non-prescribing care providers in Washington to call the line between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). Prescribing providers may call any time, 24/7.
You reach the PCL by calling 877-WA-PSYCH (877-927-7924). Prescribing providers may call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Non-prescribing care providers may call between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).
Any care provider may also schedule ahead using our calendar.
If those options don’t work for you, you may also email PCLWA@uw.edu to request a scheduled consultation. Please include your name, preferred day/time and a brief description of your question. To assist in your planning, the average consult takes about 15 minutes, including a brief intake with our navigator and time speaking with our psychiatrist.
The PCL email is monitored between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (excluding holidays).
Yes. You can schedule your consultation at a time that is convenient for you in one of two ways:
Assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning, including medication management or other treatments. Our real-life example calls can give you a feel for the breadth and depth of what we have consulted on in the past.
PCL psychiatrists answer mental health and substance use questions about assessment, diagnosis, and treatment planning for adult patients, including medication management or other treatments. It may be helpful to know that the PCL psychiatrist may or may not have experience providing psychotherapy.
Examples of in-scope questions the PCL can answer:
- You have a patient on psych meds and wonder if they are working effectively. You want to know if a particular medication can be taken only as needed or if it should be taken on a regularly scheduled basis.
- You are wondering about the impact of substance use on mental health symptoms. For example, your patient continues to have some paranoia even when they abstain from methamphetamines – is that possible?
- You have a patient on psych meds, and you wonder whether a specific symptom could be a side effect. For example, do all antidepressants have sexual side effects?
- You are wondering which symptoms suggest which diagnoses. Perhaps you think a patient has bipolar disorder or you want to know the difference between psychosis and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- You have a question about whether a specific medication can help a patient with a specific diagnosis. For example, do antidepressants work for depression in bipolar disorder, does Wellbutrin help with PTSD?
Examples of out-of-scope questions and roles:
- You need help finding the patient a prescriber or a different behavioral health provider or other resources, provide advice on specific treatment programs, or assist with patient referrals for care at UW or Harborview.
- You want help with an emergency, and you are not an emergency department provider.
- You want advice or clinical supervision regarding your therapy with a patient, ideas on rapport building or how to get your patient to engage in counseling.
- You have questions about privacy/HIPAA, Duty to Warn laws in Washington, or other medical-legal questions.
- You need assistance satisfying Single Bed Certification requirements.
- You want the PCL psychiatrist to review written records or assist with behavioral care plans
- You would like us to directly talk to the patient, family or friends of the patient. The PCL line is available only to health care professionals who are in a provider-patient relationship with the patient.
Yes. Our adult psychiatrists are able to consult with you about patients with a substance use disorder, and we have addiction psychiatrists you can consult with on complex cases.
If you have never called the line before, the intake is primarily data collection and takes about 3-4 minutes to complete. If you have called the line before, the process will be quicker.
After a quick intake, callers are connected directly to a psychiatrist about 85% of the time. If a wait is necessary, our navigator will help you connect to the psychiatrist at a future time that is convenient for you.
The average consultation takes about 15 minutes, but you will get as much consultation as you need.
When you call 877-WA-PSYCH (877-927-7924), you will reach a UW health navigator for a short intake of information, including: the patient’s name, DOB, gender, city of residence, and Medicaid status, and any barriers the patient may face in accessing mental health or substance use disorder services.
The navigator will then facilitate a warm handoff to the UW psychiatrist or schedule a phone call for a date/time in the future. At the conclusion of the conversation, the UW psychiatrist will send you written documentation of the recommendations via an email from PCLWA@uw.edu.
In response to feedback from PCL users, we created case presentation outline for your call that we hope will be helpful when preparing for your consultation and in presenting the case to the PCL psychiatrist. This format is meant as a guide that can help you get to the heart of the matter quickly, maximize time when you have the psychiatrist on the line, and it mimics what many providers are taught in their formal training about presenting a clinical case.
As part of the PCL intake, we will collect basic demographic information about the patient before the actual consult begins. Most of the questions are reporting requirements as determined by the Washington State Health Care Authority. The more information you have about the patient the better, but we will assist you using whatever information you have. See our intake form, case presentation outline and sample case presentations and example calls to learn more.
Yes. Support staff can call us to schedule a consult later in the week and/or to provide intake information. We will keep the intake information in our system for one week at which time it will be marked as an incomplete call and deleted.
Taking notes is not necessary, though you certainly may. After the call, the UW psychiatrist you spoke with will send you written documentation of the recommendations via an email from PCLWA@uw.edu, typically within 1 business day of your consultation.
There is no limit to how many times you can call the PCL. If you call more than once about the same patient, it is helpful for the navigator to know when you called before so we can refer to previous recommendations you may have been given.
The PCL is funded by the State of Washington and administered through the Washington State Health Care Authority.
If your patient is suicidal, homicidal or otherwise at imminent risk, you should call 988, call 911 or refer the patient to an emergency room. The PCL is not a crisis or suicide hotline, is not a substitute for an emergency room, and cannot coordinate ER visits, psychiatric hospitalization or law enforcement intervention.
PCL psychiatrists are currently unable to:
- Satisfy Single Bed Certification requirements
- Find follow-up care, resources or assist with discharge planning
- Provide a review of written records
- Provide clinical supervision
- Help with behavioral care plans
- Offer psychotherapy advice
- Take calls from the patient, family or friends of the patient