Otolaryngology

Refer a Patient

How to Refer a Patient

If you are unsure whether to refer your patient, please call our clinical intake nurses at 206-987-2080, option 1.

Patients must have a referral in order to schedule an appointment.

Appointment availability

Updated January 2020

We are accepting new referrals and are typically able to see new patients within a few weeks.

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. 

Please include:

  • Referring provider’s name, phone, fax number and the referral coordinator’s email address so that we may contact you if additional information is needed
  • Complete demographic information for the patient, found in the top portion of our New Appointment Request Form (NARF) (PDF, DOC)
  • Patient’s clinical records related to the reason for your referral
  • Growth charts/curves that are pertinent to the referral
  • Pertinent laboratory testing reports
  • Pertinent radiology testing reports
  • Previous specialty evaluations for second opinions or transfers of specialty care
  • Previous audiograms
  • Biopsy results

Please note:

  • We may not schedule patients until a complete referral is received.
  • Patients who have not been seen by our department in the last three years will need a new referral.
  • We see new patients through age 20. If your patient is 21 or older, we ask that you refer them to an otolaryngology provider for adults.
  • Hypernasal resonance. If you are referring your patient for hypernasal resonance:
    • Ages 3 and older: We will route the referral to our Childhood Communication Center (206-987-3853, option 1). You are welcome to refer there directly.
    • Under 3 years old: They will need a referral from our Speech and Language Services or another otolaryngologist, or the patient’s diagnosis must be already confirmed by Speech and Language Services or another otolaryngologist. If needed, we will route them to Speech and Language Services. You are welcome to refer there directly.
  • Strep throat. Refer your patient for recurrent pharyngitis if they have had more than three episodes of strep throat in the last 12 months. For more details, see the Recurrent Pharyngitis algorithm in “Resources for Providers” below.
  • Tonsillar hypertrophy. Refer your patient for tonsillar hypertrophy if they have been experiencing swollen tonsils for three months or more and they have difficulty with sleep, such as snoring, daytime fatigue, restless sleep or the like. See the algorithm in “Resources for Providers” below.
  • Chronic sinusitis (chronic rhinitis/chronic nasal drainage). Refer your patient for chronic sinusitis/chronic rhinitis/chronic nasal drainage if they have cystic fibrosis or if they have been using allergy medications (daily nasal steroid, antihistamine, nasal saline) for six weeks or more without improvement in symptoms. At least one medication should have been tried. See the algorithm in “Resources for Providers” below.
  • Recurrent acute otitis media. Refer your patient if they have had three or more ear infections in the last six months or if they have known hearing loss independent of otitis media, confirmed speech or language disorder/delay, autism or pervasive developmental disorder or syndromes or craniofacial disorders that include cognitive, speech/language delays, visual impairment or cleft palate. If they don’t meet these criteria but you have concerns about their hearing, please refer them and we will route the referral to Audiology. You may also refer to Audiology directly. See the algorithm in “Resources for Providers” below.
  • Chronic otitis media. Refer your patient if they have had ear infection with effusion for three months or more, or if they have known hearing loss independent of otitis media, confirmed speech or language disorder/delay, autism or pervasive developmental disorder, or syndromes or craniofacial disorders that include cognitive, speech/language delays, visual impairment or cleft palate. See the algorithm in “Resources for Providers” below.

Submit a referral

Pease call our clinical intake nurses if you need assistance: 206-987-2080, option 1.

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 you with an appropriate plan of care.

We offer tools to support referring providers in knowing when to refer their patients to a specialist and caring for their patients’ ear, nose and throat conditions in primary care. See “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 (ED 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 Otolaryngology team.

We offer services at the hospital campus, Everett and Bellevue. See our locations.

What Your Patients Can Expect

  • Families should call us directly at 206-987-2105 to schedule an appointment with Otolaryngology once they have a referral.
  • Appointments are available at our clinics in Everett, Bellevue or Seattle.
  • Access for most patient populations is less than two weeks; waits for some subspecialty areas may be longer.
  • We use a team approach that partners nurse practitioners with physicians in clinic in order to provide timely access to specialty care for more patients. A patient’s first visit may be with a nurse practitioner. A physician is readily available for these appointments if needed.

Resources for Providers

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