How UPMC Children’s and UPMC Passavant Help Kids During Emergencies

Since 2021, UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has partnered with UPMC Passavant to bring families exceptional emergency care at UPMC Passavant–McCandless and UPMC Passavant–Cranberry, without having to travel far.

Through the collaboration, providers at UPMC Passavant can call board-certified pediatric emergency medicine doctors at UPMC Children’s Hospital Emergency Department (ED) for advice on a complex or unusual condition or to get a second opinion for infants, children, and adolescents up to age 18. Health providers from both hospitals also work together on research, training, and quality improvement projects.

How Does This Partnership Help Patients and Families?

In an emergency, time is key. Research shows that children have better health outcomes when they can get high-quality emergency care at their local hospital.

Families in the northern communities of Pittsburgh no longer have to drive an extra half hour to see emergency providers with extra training in children’s health. When they go to UPMC Passavant, they can expect highly trained local nurses and doctors who can coordinate seamlessly with experts at UPMC’s Children’s Hospital on more advanced cases. In other words, they can get the advanced care their child needs, when and where they need it.

“Families can feel peace of mind knowing they can go to their local ED and get that same exceptional quality of care of Children’s ED,” explains Molly Gibson, RN, outreach nurse coordinator at UPMC Children’s.

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How do UPMC Children’s Emergency Department Doctors Care for Children at UPMC Passavant?

“The team at UPMC Children’s is available 24/7 to weigh in if a second opinion or advice is needed,” says Christie Galcik, educational specialist at UPMC Passavant. “This gives families reassurance that a pediatric provider is a phone call away.”

Gibson adds that doctors often have a diagnosis and treatment in mind but want a second opinion. “There are a lot of rashes, respiratory problems, and other diseases that doctors may not see often in adults,” she explains.

In some cases, doctors at UPMC Passavant discuss cases with UPMC Children’s specialists over the phone. But they can also video call. This way, the Children’s ED doctor can see the patient and family and ask questions.

The Children’s doctor will discuss the testing or treatment plan with the local health provider and come to an agreement. Usually, this means that the child can get expert care close to home in the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh – while travel to UPMC Children’s in Lawrenceville isn’t necessary.

But sometimes, a child may need to travel to UPMC Children’s Hospital for tests or treatments they can’t get at UPMC Passavant. Once the child and family arrive, the UPMC Children’s team will already know what they need and they can start caring for the child right away.

What Happens After I Bring My Child to UPMC Passavant’s Emergency Department?

Sometimes, doctors ask patients and their families to see a specialist at UPMC Children’s within days or weeks after their ED visit. For example, a child with a broken bone would need to see an orthopaedic physician for casts and other follow-up care.

Before, doctors at UPMC Passavant would give families the specialist’s contact information and they would arrange this on their own. After the stress of an unexpected hospital stay, families often missed these follow-up visits.

Through the program, an ED concierge service phones patients’ families within a few days of their hospital visit and books a follow-up appointment time that works for them. During this phone call, parents can also ask any questions they may have.

How Else Does UPMC Children’s and UPMC Passavant Collaborate?

Health providers, researchers, and other key staff at UPMC Children’s and UPMC Passavant meet often, both in-person and online to review cases, discuss joint projects, and evaluate ways to improve care for children at UPMC Passavant.

For instance, pediatric experts from Children’s reviewed the equipment for children at UPMC Passavant. This process ensured that all needed supplies were available and easy to access, explains Betsy Tedesco, DPN, director of UPMC Passavant Emergency Services.

“We have had many discussions regarding processes and evidence-based practice and policies,” adds Galcik. “Because of this, children and their families can have the best care here at UPMC Passavant with the same standards as UPMC Children’s Hospital.”

The partnership also allows providers at UPMC Passavant to take part in frequent classroom and simulation trainings.

Plus, it helps UPMC Passavant nurses attain national certification in pediatric emergency medicine. Several times each year, UPMC offers a one-day course that helps nurses prepare for the test with mentorship and training tools.

World-Class Pediatric Care, Closer to Home

In addition to the pediatric emergency department affiliation program, families in Pittsburgh’s northern communities also have access to a wide range of services that include:

  • Children’s North in Wexford — outpatient medical and surgical care, plus imaging and lab diagnostics.
  • Children’s Pine Center in Wexford — outpatient services from primary care and dermatology to child and family counseling, including advanced specialty centers like UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital’s behavioral health services.
  • UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics — more than 50 regional practices offer well and sick care visits, plus a variety of specialty services.
  • UPMC Children’s Express Care (Wexford and Cranberry Township at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex) — walk-in, after-hours, or video visit care on evenings and weekends for minor injuries and illnesses by board-certified pediatricians.

Pediatric video visits, through the MyCHP app are also available, along with 24/7 virtual pediatric urgent care with a UPMC Children’s provider through UPMC Children’s AnywhereCare.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About Pediatrics

From nutrition to illnesses, from athletics to school, children will face many challenges growing up. Parents often will make important health care decisions for them. We hope to help guide both of you in that journey. UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is a national leader in pediatric care, ranking consistently on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll. We provide expert treatment for pediatric diseases, along well-child visits, urgent care, and more. With locations across Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia, you can find world-class care close to home. We also work closely with UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital, a national leader in care for newborns and their mothers. Our goal is to provide the best care for your children, from birth to adulthood and beyond. Visit our website to find a doctor near you.