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On-Demand Mental Health Consultations for Children Now Available to Central Texas Health Care Providers

May 7, 2020

AUSTIN, Texas — Central Texas pediatricians, family practice doctors and other health care providers will soon have instant access to a pediatric mental health specialist under a new program funded by the Texas Legislature.

Starting May 18, health care providers seeking real-time expert consultation for a child or teen patient experiencing a mental or behavioral health issue can access this aid through the Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN), a statewide initiative managed in Central Texas by Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas and Ascension Connect.

“Whether it’s about medication options or best practices to counseling, getting instantaneous answers means better access to mental health care – a scarce resource for children and teens throughout our state,” said Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., chair of Dell Med’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Central Texas clinics will also be able to access information on mental health resources in their communities.

“With critical support from the state legislature, the CPAN initiative recognizes the importance of child and adolescent mental health,” said Clay Johnston, M.D., Ph.D., dean of Dell Med. “It’s also linking primary care providers to mental health expertise so that they can better serve patients and their families.”

Pediatricians and family practice providers also recognize the value of accessing mental health expertise through CPAN. “We are excited to be part of the Child Psychiatry Access Network,” noted Kimberly Avila Edwards, M.D., medical director of Children’s Health Express, Dell Children’s Medical Center’s mobile clinic. “It is vital that each Children’s Health Express pediatrician has the knowledge, skill, support and training to address and treat mental illness as our patients often face tremendous barriers in accessing other mental health services,” she said.

“During this time of the coronavirus pandemic, with children being out of school and sheltered at home to a considerable extent, assessment and treatment of those who are suffering with anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders is of paramount importance,” said Nemeroff. “CPAN provides just such a vitally needed resource, and we are delighted to be a part of this statewide initiative.”

Central Texas doctors can obtain more information and register for the free program by phone at 512-843-3007 or by email at Registered doctors can use the service by calling 888-901-CPAN.