The Pediatric Pandemic: Managing and Advancing the Care of Youth with Behavioral Health Concerns in the ED

U.S. News and World Report highlighted a recent Boston Children's Hospital study that marked a substantial increase in pediatric patients presenting in hospital emergency rooms for mental health-related issues. The study confirmed what other hospitals in the nation are experiencing regarding increased demand for pediatric mental health care.

The influx of young patients is a direct result of COVID-19-related isolation issues and other mental health admissions for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, self-harm, and other disorders sparked by the pandemic. The study highlighted the strain this situation places on an already overburdened system, compounded by a backlog of children and teens being boarded in emergency rooms, often waiting days for a behavioral health care specialist appointment to be available.

Array is uniquely positioned to provide virtual psychiatry in such circumstances. Our clinicians offer an important service along the behavioral health continuum of care, helping hospitals by attending to patients in acute care situations, reducing the length of stay, providing post-discharge care, and reducing inappropriate admissions by offering timely access to quality care from licensed mental health specialists. Early intervention for mental health care can avoid costly hospitalizations for pediatric patients and their families.

In response to the youth mental health crisis, Array Behavioral Care hosted a panel discussion on the alarming rise in the number and acuity of pediatric behavioral health presentations to hospital emergency departments across the country.

The panel brought together the nation’s leading experts from Array Behavioral Care, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Chester County Hospital/Penn Medicine to discuss the underlying factors that contribute to the increased demand for pediatric behavioral health care, the clinical and operational implications of managing these patients in acute care settings, and the potential upstream and downstream interventions and strategies to help address this problem. 

Featured Speakers


Mark Alter, MD, PhD

Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Acute Care, Array Behavioral Care
In addition to continued practice of on-demand telepsychiatry, Mark Alter, MD, PhD (he/him/his) manages Array’s team of OnDemand Care clinicians and guides them in telemedicine and industry best practice. Dr. Alter is board certified in Pediatrics, Psychiatry, and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and is also a principal investigator with the department of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. With more than 14 years of clinical practice in behavioral health and affiliations with over 10 medical facilities, Alter provides a wide range of clinical and operation expertise to Array’s partners.

Scott Baker

VP of Sales, Array Behavioral Care
As Vice President of Business Development, Scott Baker leads a team of business development executives tasked with building relationships across the continuum of care in order to increase access to quality behavioral health care services. In his role, Baker works closely with health systems, hospitals, clinics, IDNs, payers, employers, EAPs and other organizations to develop successful telebehavioral health programs and partnerships. Baker has worked in the telebehavioral health space since 2012 and focuses his attention on identifying and innovating the latest opportunities for improving care via telehealth. Baker frequently shares telebehavioral health trends, applications, and best practices at speaking engagements across the United States.

Ameer Mody, MD, MPH

Director of ED Clinical Informatics, Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Born and raised in Southern California, Dr. Mody is in his 6th year as an attending in the Emergency department at CHLA and is the Director of Kids Care. His interests in pediatric emergency medicine include emergency department administration, LEAN initiatives in emergency medicine, asthma care, and patient throughput. He has published chapters in a variety of PEM textbooks, most recently in the 6th edition of Fleisher and Ludwig’s textbook of Pediatric Emergency Medicine. In 2010, Dr. Mody was awarded the American Academy of Pediatrics, Chapter 4 Young Pediatrician of the Year, Current research involves utilizing mobile smartphones to communicate radiographic findings and development of advanced physician performance metrics. In his spare time, Dr. Mody enjoys exploring the local food scene and placing unrealistic athletic expectations on his 3 children, ages 12, 9, and 7.

Kyle Finucane, MSW

Director of Behavioral Health, Chester County Hospital (Penn Medicine)
Kyle Finucane, MSW has spent the past six years as a Social Worker at Penn Medicine – Chester County Hospital, working in the Emergency Department. He was promoted to the role of Social Work Team Lead in 2016 and recognized as Leader of the Year in 2018. Kyle has a vast background in Social Work Practice having worked in a variety of settings including skilled nursing facilities, hospice, and children and youth services. His varied professional experiences have all had a connection to the world of behavioral health whether directly or indirectly. Kyle is passionate about community members having easy access to quality behavioral health services and care. He feels that Health Care Connect is an impactful organization that connects people of varying backgrounds for the betterment of our community.

Solome Tibebu

Founder & CEO @Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech
Solome Tibebu is a behavioral health technology strategist passionate about health equity and access. Solome leads The Upswing Fund for Adolescent Mental Health, a collaborative fund seeded by Melinda Gates' Pivotal Ventures and other private family offices. Solome is also the host of the Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech summit. Prior to consulting various stakeholders on all things behavioral health technology, Solome worked in corporate development, venture capital, behavioral health EHR software, ran a mental health tech startup, founded, and has been developing healthcare startup communities since 2012. Solome is an advisor or board director to several behavioral health companies and national nonprofits.
To view a recording of the panel discussion, click the button below.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss how Array Behavioral Care can help your organization, please contact us.

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