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Biden Administration Invests in Pediatric Mental Healthcare Expansion

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias

The Biden administration announced this week it will provide $27 million to help expand pediatric mental healthcare.

As part of the Pediatric Mental Health Care Access program, four dozen awardees each will receive $300,000. This will allow providers to consult virtually with pediatric mental health specialists. In turn, these specialists can diagnose, treat, and refer young patients to the appropriate services. Awardees also include school-based and emergency department providers. Additionally, the administration will give $3.2 million to three national organizations, with more funding to be allocated over several years, to help this expansion and implementation. This funding will be drawn from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the American Rescue Plan.

“There should be no wrong door when it comes to children accessing the vital mental health services they need. For that to happen, we need to support pediatricians and other healthcare providers in recognizing and treating mental health conditions,” said Carole Johnson, administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration. "This work is critical not only to ensuring timely access to care, but also to expanding the reach of the mental health workforce.”

Meanwhile, national organizations this week released a policy statement and technical report regarding managing regarding pediatric emergencies. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians, and the Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) called for policies that emphasize patient safety while ensuring emergency facilities are staffed properly with trained personnel who can readily access proper supplies and appropriate equipment.

“Pediatric patients require more specialized care and equipment than adult patients, so it’s imperative for everyone in the ED to work together as a whole and be fully committed to the proper care of pediatric patients who come in,” said ENA President Jenn Schmitz, MSN, EMT-P, CEN, CPEN, CNML, FNP-C, NE-BC

For more on this and related subjects, be sure to read the latest issues of Critical Care Alert, ED Management, Emergency Medicine Reports, and Pediatric Emergency Medicine Reports.