Urgent Appointments

At Nationwide Children’s Hospital, we strive to schedule all patients in a timely manner, but we recognize that some patients need to be seen on an urgent basis.

That’s why we have developed our Urgent Appointment Promise. With this new customer-service initiative, we are not only offering a formal promise, we are reaffirming our commitment to work closely with primary care and other referring providers.

If your patient has a truly urgent need to see a specialist, please call (614) 355-0221. We will call the patient within one business day to schedule an appointment within five business days.

How Does an Urgent Appointment Work? 

  1. Referring physician calls the Physician Direct Connect (PDC) Line to request an urgent appointment. (A consultation with a Nationwide Children’s Hospital specialist is not required, but is available, if needed.)
  2. Nationwide Children’s Hospital will contact the family within one business day and offers an appointment within five business days.
  3. Referring practice receives confirmation when appointment scheduled.

Important Details Needed

When the physician calls for an Urgent Appointment, please provide:

  • Diagnosis/reason patient should be seen right away
  • Details about the urgency (if the diagnosis is not commonly an urgent case)
  • Any testing performed elsewhere which would not be available in the Nationwide Children’s Hospital system
  • List of current medications
  • Any additional relevant information

Urgent Appointment Questions and Answers

What qualifies as an urgent appointment?

The referring provider makes this decision. We trust you to determine if a patient should be seen within five business days and communicate with us. We ask providers to recognize that these appointments are reserved for truly urgent cases. Therefore, it is important that patients with less urgent needs are not seen ahead of those who need faster access.

Is this available for all services?

The Urgent Appointment Promise applies to all pediatric subspecialties except Behavioral Health. Nationwide Children’s Hospital, along with other institutions, continues to face high demand for behavioral health services, but we hope to include our program in the future.

What about diagnostic services?

Since the service is intended to create urgent access to outpatient specialty clinics, it does not apply to diagnostic services (e.g. MRI, sleep studies). We always work with referring providers and families to schedule services as soon as possible, and ensure those with pressing needs are triaged appropriately.

Can we use this to get our patients in "sooner"?

While we strive to schedule all patients in a timely manner, this is intended specifically for those with a medical need to be seen within five business days. Please talk to us if you have a currently scheduled patient, who is not necessarily an urgent case, but needs to be seen somewhat sooner than the current appointment.

Can we request urgent appointments by fax or online?

While we encourage practices to utilize the fax referral form and online request an appointment scheduling, we ask the physician to call us at (614) 355-0221 when a patient needs to be seen within five business days. The telephone conversation is important for gathering important information on the urgency of the case.

What if the family declines the initial appointment?

Patients sometimes decline the available appointment due to scheduling conflicts or other reasons. When that happens, we work with the family on available options. In some cases, the appointment may ultimately be scheduled somewhat later, due to patient availability.

For More Information

For more information about our Urgent Appointment Promise or other referral and scheduling topics, please contact your Nationwide Children’s Hospital physician liaison.