In alliance with the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium (TCMHCC), the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, part of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) can provide primary care pediatricians in San Antonio and the surrounding areas access to the Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN).
CPAN provides real-time psychiatric consultations to give pediatric primary care providers guidance on behavioral health diagnosis and treatment options. UT Health San Antonio is the CPAN provider site for a 35-county region in south central Texas.
“There is so much that primary care can offer as initial steps in treatment, and we want to empower these first-line professionals to feel confident and effective in providing initial interventions,” explained Joseph C. Blader, PhD, Meadows Foundation and Semp Russ Professor of Child Psychiatry in the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long School of Medicine. “Of course, when a youngster’s issue goes beyond what primary care clinicians can routinely offer, we are also available to connect families with specialty care.”
In addition, the CPAN system can help pediatricians locate further services tailored to a child’s needs and address the full range of behavioral health issues that youth often experience.
Who can use CPAN?
With a simple phone call, primary care providers – including physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and medical assistants – can consult CPAN in real-time with a behavioral health specialist on:
- Assessment assistance
- Diagnosis verification
- Medication management
- Reliable referrals in your area
- A resource list for your patients
Primary care providers may call the CPAN hotline at 1-888-901-CPAN (select option 3, then option 2) to consult with a child and adolescent psychiatrist. The hotline is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Providers may ask about mental health assessment, symptoms and psychiatric medications, and may obtain referrals for mental health providers in the community to share with their patients.
Primary care providers can also email CPAN@uthscsa.edu for referrals or to schedule a consultation.
What else does CPAN offer?
Another major activity of CPAN is the program’s education and outreach efforts. Primary care providers registered with CPAN are eligible to participate in medical education training opportunities and receive information about new developments in behavioral health.
CPAN also provides education in child and adolescent mental health and treatments for specific issues.
“CPAN offers a free continuing medical education webinar series on key topics. We also offer Project ECHO, which is a more interactive, small group, case-based learning format,” Dr. Blader said.
In addition to consultations for pediatric primary care providers, the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry provides direct service to youth and families through the Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) program, another TCMHCC initiative.
TCHATT delivers direct care for behavioral health issues to children and adolescents who are referred by their schools after discussion with families who want to pursue care. All services offered by the program are provided via telemedicine. While legislation requires referrals to come from schools, all care is confidential, as with other mental health services.
“The shortage of specialty providers for kids has long been recognized as a problem, and it is thrilling that we are starting to take direct steps to address that challenge,” Dr. Blader concluded.
How to Get Started?
To enroll in CPAN, call the hotline at 1-888-901-CPAN (select option 3, then option 2) Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for assistance with the registration process.
For additional information about community-based services for children led by UT Health San Antonio, visit https://lsom.uthscsa.edu/psychiatry/clinical-programs/cpan-tchatt/.