Refer a Patient

Family Services

Specialty Referral Guidelines

Whether your patient needs to see a cardiologist or a headache specialist, we have referral guidelines to help you provide the best specialty options for your patients.

View our guidelines

Any physician, health professional, or healthcare agency may refer a patient to Children’s National specialty services at the Hospital or Regional Outpatient Centers.

Children’s National Health System has been designated a 2015 Leapfrog Group Top Hospital, one of only 12 pediatric hospitals in the nation named to this prestigious list. Children’s also is one of only five children’s hospitals in the U.S. to receive three national and elite awards this year: U.S. News & World Report's Best Children’s Hospitals Honor Roll, Magnet® designation, and now the Leapfrog Group’s Top Hospital—a true testament to our tireless dedication to providing the best care possible for all patients and families.

Important Phone Numbers

Referring Physician Access Line: 202-476-4880
Available 24/7, operators page the physician on-call for the specialty you need

Emergency Consult/Transfer/Direct Admission to Children’s National: 800-884-LIFE (5433)
Immediate access to Children’s Emergency Communications Information Center

Physician Relations: 202-476-4418
Connecting our referring healthcare community to the services at Children’s National

Direct Admit

Community physicians can now call Bear Direct and refer a patient for admission to our hospital. This means that any physician—you do not need privileges or credentials through Children’s National—can refer a patient. The number is the same toll free number you have used in the past for Emergency Department referrals: 800-884-LIFE.

The Bear Direct Information Center is available 24/7. Your call will be directed to a physician who will obtain further details and facilitate the admission process with the help of a dedicated admission nurse. Outpatient consultations are still managed through our Referring Physician Access Line at 202-476-4880. 

Our Referring Physician Access Line offers timely access to Children’s National specialists for questions regarding consultations, referrals, and inpatient reports.When physicians call, a trained staff member will answer the line, ensuring a quicker response for you and your patient directly from a Children’s National specialist. 

Criteria And Common Conditions For Admission

Your evaluation of the patient on the day of the referral will help us understand your patient’s needs. Some common conditions for inpatient referral include:

  •     Failure to thrive
  •     Fever of unknown origin
  •     Failure of outpatient therapy

If you are unsure if a patient needs emergency care or admission, our team will help determine the best treatment plan for your patient. Direct admissions require your practice to obtain pre-authorization by payors. Our Bear Direct Case Manager can provide assistance, if needed.

We Want Your Feedback

We appreciate hearing your feedback on this process at After each referral you also will receive a quick survey link. We appreciate your time in providing feedback that will improve our service to you!

In This Section:

Fax Referrals

Practices may now FAX referrals for pediatric specialty care to Children’s National Medical Center. Once you fax in the request, either using our form or one generated from your electronic medical record or insurance pathways, our team will contact the family to schedule the appointment

Referral Guidelines

Referral Guidelines for our subspecialty areas.

Referring Physician Directory

The Referring Physician Directory is created in real-time, with data that is updated nightly, so you have the most current information available about our providers.