Provider News

Mission Control: The One-Stop Shop for Providers Who Are Sending Patients to Seattle Children’s for Emergency or Inpatient Care

October 4, 2023

Mission Control: 206-987-8899 or toll-free 866-987-8899

What is Mission Control?

Mission Control is a Seattle Children’s team that coordinates the flow of patients into the hospital’s inpatient setting. It was created in the spring of 2023 to serve as the single point of entry for all inpatients and a “one-stop shop” for providers seeking direct patient admission.

  • Mission: To provide seamless patient flow across the continuum of care to ensure every patient is in the right place, at the right time, and receives the right level of care.

How should external providers use Mission Control?

Please contact Mission Control if you are sending — or expect to send — a patient to the hospital Emergency Department (ED) or for admission.

Call Mission Control if:

  • You are sending a patient to the ED
  • You are sending a patient who needs direct admission as an inpatient
  • Your patient may need to be admitted as an inpatient in the next several days (so we can plan ahead)

An experienced Transfer Center RN will answer your call and collect information regarding your patient. They will know our bed and nursing capacity and can assign the patient a medical team. The nurse can consult with the Hospital Medicine attending physician — our “flow MD,” who is also a Mission Control team member — if there are questions about whether the patient needs intensive care, acute care or an ED visit. If the provider needs help figuring out the best way to get the patient to Seattle Children’s, the Transfer Center RN can connect with the Seattle Children’s transport team to help with that too.

Mission Control team members work on-site in a shared space to ensure seamless collaboration.

Questions Mission Control might ask

When you call, please be ready to provide:

  • Your patient’s name
  • Age and date of birth
  • Weight
  • A brief history of present illness and condition
  • Potential isolation issues (respiratory or other)
  • Any specific issues that you would like to have addressed during your patient’s visit/stay
  • A number where we may reach you to update you on your patient’s condition and to collaborate on a follow-up plan

A word from Dr. Elaine Albert on calling Mission Control when you’re not sure

You don’t need to be certain your patient is coming to Seattle Children’s before calling Mission Control.  “We really want to encourage providers to call Mission Control even if they think there’s a chance their patient will need direct admit sometime in the near future — as much as 3 to 5 days out,” says Dr. Elaine Albert, medical director of Inpatient Access. “For example, if you are seeing a baby who is not growing well and you feel you’ve done all you can do in the clinic and they might need to come here, Mission Control can help you set up that future admission. Likewise, if you aren’t sure whether a patient needs a direct admit or should start with an ED visit, call Mission Control and let us help you figure it out.”

Why did we create Mission Control?

Before Mission Control, patients needing admission to the hospital were arriving in various ways (ED, ambulance, air medical transport, sent by provider) and entering our inpatient care system through multiple entry points with different teams involved. We did not have an optimal system for sharing information about who was incoming and encountered challenges in preparing our clinical space and teams for their arrival. As a result, patients spent extra time being admitted and/or spent unnecessary time in the ED.  As the pandemic brought extreme capacity constraints to our ED and inpatient units, we knew we needed a better way.

When should providers call the Provider-to-Provider Line (206-987-7777) vs. Mission Control (206-987-8899)?   

  • Use the Provider-to-Provider Line if you have a question about how to care for your patient that you’d like to talk over with a specialist, or to discuss whether referral to Seattle Children’s is appropriate versus continued management in the community.
  • Call Mission Control if you are sending a patient to the hospital for care, either for direct admission or a visit to the ED, or to set up a likely future admit.