How do we bridge the gap between PMHCAs and Emergency Departments (EDs)?

PMHCA programs have traditionally been focused on primary care, however, with the increased number of children and adolescents visiting EDs, a gap in services exists. The PMHCA teams from seven different states are working together to develop tools to connect their services with EDs.

PMHCA teams' work will follow the Quality Improvement (QI) Collaborative model. Selected PMHCA awardees will participate in guided focus group discussions to identify needed tools to assist them in expanding into the ED space. They will identify existing barriers, develop tools to overcome them, establish partnerships with EDs, and create proofs of concept for implementation efforts. The end goal is to aid PMHCAs in connecting with EDs to provide guidance and access to mental and behavioral health resources, thus leading to improved outcomes for children and their families visiting EDs.

Participating PMHCA teams are also part of the EIIC’s ED Screening and Treatment Options for Pediatric (STOP) QI Collaborative. Through this program, PMHCA teams are exposed to the unique needs and challenges of the nation’s EDs as they address pediatric and adolescent acute suicidality, allowing teams to investigate where the PMHCA could fit into ED workflows.

Phases of the PMHCA Collaborative

Phase 1

Environmental Scan

Gather baseline data and identify gaps.

Phase 2

Focus Groups

Review evidence and determine best practices.

Phase 3

TA Development

Determine implementation plans for long-term sustainability and scale.

The Seven PMHCA Teams


The development of Technical Assistance will help bridge identified gaps so children’s mental health and behavioral health needs are met by growing partnerships across the country, specifically targeting EDs.

Seven awardees, each at different stages of their work, have partnered with EIIC to develop the Technical Assistance. Learn more about their work: