The Psychiatric Intake Response Center (PIRC), located within Cincinnati Children’s, is the admission and evaluation center for all psychiatric services.

PIRC is dedicated to providing high-quality evaluations and access to mental health services across the entire continuum of care. The service provides the community with reliable, professional triage and assessment by licensed independent behavioral health clinicians with more than 150 years of combined experience.

Services provided by the PIRC include:

  • Admission and evaluation center for children and adolescents in acute crisis at both Cincinnati Children's Burnet and Liberty Campus Emergency Department
  • Expert assessment and recommendation to help you determine the next steps in treatment for your child
  • Clinical telephone triage and response
  • Inquiries about inpatient care, outpatient care, community services
  • Mental health link to the community including outpatient referrals
  • Psychiatric consultation for patients admitted to the medical center
  • Insurance pre-certification and authorization of mental health services at  Cincinnati Children’s
  • Intake services

Anyone with mental health questions is encouraged to contact the PIRC at 513-636-4124 or psychiatryresponse@cchmc.org. The PIRC is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round. 

Emergency Department Admission and Evaluation

What to Expect

The mental health evaluations in the Emergency Department (ED) are completed by psychiatric social workers from the PIRC. The goal is to assess patients with an immediate crisis and recommend an appropriate level of care.

  • Registration / Triage: When arriving at the ED, families need to register for a psychiatric evaluation. Registration staff will collect all information about demographics, insurance and reason for presentation from the patient family. The nursing staff will assess the patient needs and the urgency of those needs.
    • What to Bring: A list of current medications and dosage, insurance card and other mental health or medical provider contact information.
  • Treatment Room: The patient and family will be moved into one of the treatment rooms within the Emergency Department based on the outcome of the urgency assessment.
  • Medical Evaluation: The patient will be assessed medically by the nursing staff. The ED doctor will assess the patient’s medical needs and medical stability.
  • Psychiatric Evaluation: The psychiatric social worker will assess the mental health needs of the child. This assessment will include the collection of an accurate history of the illness, past mental health concerns, past or current psychiatric treatment, family history and a thorough mental status examination to illustrate the symptoms of the patient.
  • Treatment Plan / Discharge from ED: The psychiatric social worker will consult with the ED doctor and family to determine the best treatment for the patient. If your child is admitted to a psychiatric unit, the psychiatric social worker will coordinate and arrange for the admission. If your child is discharged from the Emergency Department, the psychiatric social worker will refer you to a psychiatric outpatient provider.

Evaluations are generally first come, first served and based on treatment room placement. Please remember that you and your child may encounter a significant wait. However, your child will be monitored by the ED staff in a safe environment. Rest assured that everything will be done by the PIRC and ED staff to try to expedite the experience.