Eating Disorders

Refer a Patient

How to Refer a Patient

If you are unsure about whether to refer your patient, please call our Clinical Intake Nurses at 206-987-2080.

Appointment availability

Updated May 2021

The Adolescent Medicine clinic is open for new eating disorders referrals on a limited basis. All patients must have a referral.

Due to a significant rise in the number and severity of patients with eating disorders during the pandemic, Seattle Children’s Eating Disorders program is currently focusing our limited resources on patients who are medically unstable. We are prioritizing new visits for patients under the age of 18 who meet one of the following criteria:

  • Heart rate <60 bpm
  • Weight loss of >10% over the past 3 months
  • Abnormal laboratory work-up
  • Abnormal EKG

If your patient does not meet the criteria, we strongly recommend you:

  • Continue to follow your patient closely to monitor vital signs including heart rate, blood pressure and weight.
  • Encourage general nutrition recommendations including consuming 3 meals and 3 snacks a day and having family meals together when possible.
  • Refer your patient to a mental health provider who is familiar with treating patients with eating disorders.

We ask that referring providers please communicate the referral changes to their patients and make alternate arrangements for their care. This includes referral to community therapists and, when appropriate, referral to outside facilities with expertise in the management of eating disorders (see Resources for Providers below).

Admission to the Emergency Department: Please see our Admit Criteria (PDF) for medical stabilization and send your patient to the Emergency Department if you are concerned about the need for medical admission.

Primary care management of eating disorders: In some cases patients who are hemodynamically stable and who do not have medical complications or who have an established multidisciplinary care team may be able to be managed in the primary care setting. To determine if your patient fits this profile, we may ask you to complete this evaluation form: Interim PCP Appointment for Patients With Eating Disorders (PDF).

Referral requirements

Please submit a referral that is complete. This helps us schedule your patient’s appointment in a timely manner and ensure their first visit is smooth and productive.     

Please include:

  • Service/specialty clinic requested
  • Reason for referral: What is the clinical question for the specialist?
  • If the referral is urgent (see within 4 weeks) or routine (next available)
  • ICD-10 diagnosis – required
  • Visit type:
    • New patient consult, transfer of care, second opinion or return visit/ongoing care
  • ALL relevant clinical documents
    • Clinic notes
    • Medication history
    • Growth charts/curves 
    • Lab reports
    • Imaging and diagnostic reports
    • Previous specialty evaluations
  • Patient’s full name, DOB, sex, address, guardian contact information and insurance
  • Referring provider’s name, phone, fax and the referral coordinator’s email address so that we may contact you if additional information is needed
  • Preferred clinic location
  • If an interpreter is needed
  • Any known barriers to performing a successful telehealth (video) visit with this family
  • Complete set of orthostatic vitals, including blind weight, height, heart rate and blood pressure – preferably taken within the last week

If possible, it would be helpful to have the following documentation prior to the patient’s first visit in specialty care, but it is not required for the referral:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG) and labs (complete metabolic panel and thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH])

Please note:

  • We see patients ages 9 through 20. Please refer patients 21 and older to an adult provider.
  • We work as a team with the patient’s other healthcare providers in the community, including their mental health provider and dietitians. Please consider asking your patient to initiate treatment with a mental health professional prior to their first appointment in our clinic so that we can work collaboratively with them during treatment.
  • We review and triage each referral for what type of care would be best: inpatient medical stabilization or outpatient eating disorder treatment at Seattle Children’s – either a more intensive team visit approach or weekly alternating visits with nutrition and medical providers. Sometimes we recommend a higher level of treatment at another facility outside of Seattle Children’s.

Submit a referral

Please call our Clinical Intake Nurses if you need assistance: 206-987-2080

We’re committed to partnering with you

  • Diagnosis and treatment options: call 206-987-7777 (Provider-to-Provider Line).
  • Referring or transporting a patient to our Emergency Department or Urgent Care: call 206-987-8899 or, toll-free, 866-987-8899 (Emergency Department Communications Center).
  • Questions about scheduling and referrals, including locating or expediting a referral: call 206-987-2080 (Clinical Intake Nurses).

Learn more about managing your patients at Seattle Children’s, including viewing your patient’s records.

Meet the Eating Disorders team.

What Your Patients Can Expect

  • Once we receive your referral, your patient will be in our queue to review. We will contact you and/or the patient’s family for the information we need. After review is complete and if clinically appropriate, they or their family can call to schedule their first visit. Currently the wait time between referral and first visit is approximately 1 to 2 months.
  • Families may call 206-987-2028, option 1, to ask to be added to a cancellation list.
  • As openings become available, we call families to schedule based on provider availability and the patient’s condition and acuity.
  • First appointments usually involve meeting more than one provider; families should plan for a 2- to 3-hour appointment.

Resources and research for families  

Resources for Providers  

We provide many resources for patients and families. Providers may find these helpful to understand our services and share with their patients and families:

Outside facilities with expertise in the management of eating disorders:

To suggest additional resources from Seattle Children’s that would be useful to primary care providers, please email us.