Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Refer a Patient

How to Refer a Patient

Appointment availability

Updated December 2019

We are accepting new referrals.

The Gastroenterology and Hepatology Program is currently experiencing longer-than-normal wait times. Our referral backlog includes more than 1,000 patients with conditions considered not urgent and typically manageable in the primary care setting, for whom we have no appointment slots available. We are in the process of notifying these patients and their providers that we are temporarily unable to see them and are also putting a hold on taking new referrals for these conditions.

To improve access for patients, we are:

  • Temporarily redirecting patients with the following diagnoses to primary care unless they have alarm symptoms or red flags*:
    • Functional constipation
    • Functional abdominal pain
    • Physiological gastroesophageal reflux

* For information about red flags/alarm signs, visit Resources for Providers below and view the protocol and algorithm for functional constipation and two algorithms for GERD (one for infants, one for noninfants).

  • Reviewing referrals daily. Our internal triage process identifies those patients who need to see a specialist most urgently.
  • Actively recruiting and hiring new providers. We hope to have them in place and resume seeing all referrals by fall 2020.

If you are unsure whether to refer your patient, please call our Clinical Intake Nurses at 206-987-2080, option 1.  

Referral requirements

We ask that providers submit a referral that is complete. A complete referral helps us schedule an appointment for your patient in a timely manner and match them with the right specialist and clinic location. It ensures a productive and smooth first appointment for your patient. It also helps us assess the needs of our community and plan to have the capacity to meet those needs. 

We may not schedule patients until a complete referral is received.

Please submit all relevant documentation and chart notes with your referral, including:

  • Growth curves/charts
  • Results from any relevant labs and stool tests
  • Relevant imaging results
  • If you are referring a patient for functional constipation, functional abdominal pain or physiological gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), please provide full clinical details including alarm signs/red flags and your prior treatment plan and timeline.

Please note:

  • Patients who have not been seen by our department in the last 18 months will need a new referral.
  • We will see new patients through age 17 only. If your patient is 18 or older, we ask that you refer them to an adult gastroenterology/hepatology provider.

Submit a referral

Please follow the standard referral procedures below:

Please note:

  • After we receive your referral, we will triage it and then call the family when we have an appointment available.
  • Patients are prioritized based on their current condition and acuity and the availability of a specialist to see them. 
  • We will notify you when an appointment is made.
  • Your patient will be seen by the provider who is the best match for managing the current problem.

We’re committed to partnering with you

If we evaluate your patient and determine they do not have a condition that requires ongoing evaluation and management in a specialty setting, we will return them to primary care with an appropriate plan of care for the primary care provider.

We are creating tools to support referring providers in caring for patients who have conditions that can be evaluated and treated in primary care.  Learn more in Resources for Providers below.

We are always available to answer questions and support your care of your patients.

  • 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.

What Your Patients Can Expect

  • Once we receive your referral, your patient will be in our queue to review and schedule. Many services have a long wait.
  • We review openings and the patient referral queue daily.
  • As openings become available, we call families to schedule based on provider availability and the patient’s condition and acuity.

Resources for Providers