Refer a Patient
How to Refer a Patient
Updated April 2023
We are accepting new referrals for patients age 17 and younger, including for functional constipation, functional abdominal pain and physiological gastroesophageal reflux. Due to rising wait times and the high volume of referrals we receive, we are prioritizing by acuity.
Wait times for non-urgent general GI conditions such as constipation or generalized abdominal pain with no red flags is 3 to 5 months. We rely on our partnership with providers in the community and appreciate providers managing less acute gastrointestinal conditions. Please refer to our extensive Resources for Providers below for assistance.
If you are unsure whether to refer your patient, please call our Clinical Intake Nurses at 206-987-2080, option 1.
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.
- Service/specialty clinic requested
- Reason for referral: what is the clinical question for the specialist? Please be specific and provide detailed description of observations, concerns or red flags.
- 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 – most recent and relevant to the concern you are referring for
- Medication history
- Growth charts/curves
- Lab reports and stool tests
- Imaging and diagnostic reports (Images can be uploaded to PowerShare)
- 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 the family
- 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.
- Patients who have not been seen by our department in the last 18 months will need a new referral.
Submit a referral
Please follow the standard referral procedures below:
- 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 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.
- Meet the Gastroenterology and Hepatology team.
- See our locations.
Resources for Providers
- The Functional Constipation Clinical Protocol (PDF), developed by Seattle Children’s specialists in collaboration with community providers, can help you determine whether your patient should be referred to a specialist or treated in primary care.
- Algorithm for Functional Constipation (p. 12 in document above)
- Guideline for families, including education materials to help understand and manage their child’s constipation
- Parent booklet about constipation from St. Louis Children’s
- Dosage Tables
- Please review the Functional Constipation Clinical Protocol, including the algorithm on page 12.
- Consider the following screening tests: CBC, ESR, CRP, albumin, BUN/Cr, ALT, TTG IgA, total IgA, TSH and stool Helicobacter pylori.
- Consider abdominal imaging with ultrasound, upper gastrointestinal series or other if concerning symptoms for gallbladder pathology, abnormal GI anatomy or extraintestinal sources of symptoms.
- Education materials to help families understand and manage their child’s abdominal pain:
- Seattle Children’s article: “Abdominal Pain in Kids – Anxiety-Related or Something More?”
- Free mobile app for teenagers experiencing pain
- Pain associated with chronic vomiting, chronic diarrhea, bleeding, weight loss, or significant lab abnormalities is considered an urgent referral. Please include these details in the referral or contact our GI providers.
- Algorithm for GERD in infants(<12 months)
- Algorithm for GERD in children ages 1+
- A guideline for families that includes education materials to help understand and manage their child’s reflux: “Reflux (Spitting Up)”
- Seattle Children’s handout, “Gastroesophageal Reflux: Helping Your Baby.”
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Parent’s Take-Home Guide from GI Kids (Spanish)
- Consider recommending a food and emotion diary to correlate reflux symptoms with certain foods and stressors.
- Consider trial of acid suppression for two to four weeks.
- Chronic vomiting, vomiting with weight loss and dysphagia are considered a more urgent referral. Please include these details in the referral or contact our GI providers.
To suggest additional resources from Seattle Children’s that would be useful to primary care providers, please email us.
Podcasts Featuring Seattle Children's Providers
- Dr. Evelyn Hsu: Liver Transplant and How to Become a Transplant Hepatologist
- Dr. Hannibal Person: Why Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Matters in Peds GI
- Dr. Danielle Wendel: Central Line Management in Intestinal Failure