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Funded Projects

ACCESS MH CT Expansion Project

Project Website

Grant Status: Active

Training Category: Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program (PMHCA)

Project Director(s):

Stephney Springer, LCSW, PsyD
Connecticut Department of Children and Families
505 Hudson Street
Hartford, CT  06106-7107
Phone: (860) 550-6530


In six-and-a-half years, CT's ACCESS Mental Health program has provided over 41,000 real-time psychiatric consultations to pediatric and family care providers (PCPs) treating over 7,800 youth and their families allowing youth and families to access needed mental health services much earlier. PCPs are utilizing the program and are also highly satisfied with the support they have received from the ACCESS MH Hub teams. However, the program's scope is limited to youth under the age of 19 years and there are several challenges specifically facing young adults in connecting to much needed behavioral health treatment. In addition to transportation difficulties, affordability, and cultural stigma, our state's system is also predominately bifurcated by age. Service providers are often licensed in such a way that they only serve a targeted age population; forcing the youth to transition to a new provider once they have reached 19. Beyond the potential to lose certain types of coverage o eligibility, for a young adult to move from child services to adult services may be so disruptive that they become dis-incentivized from continuing their behavioral health care.

Goals and Objectives:

We seek funding to expand the ACCESS MH program, by continuing to provide real-time psychiatric consultation, care coordination, and education to PCPs across the state; expanding services to support all youth up to 21 years, regardless of insurance. By offering a single point of contact, PCPs can connect to their ACCESS MH Hub teams and partner with the young adult to learn more about their specific treatment needs.


The current program supports all PCPs treating youth under the age of 19 years presenting with behavioral health concerns. We will build off the existing model by expanding the program's reach to include transitional age youth ages 19-21 years. Based on current data and feedback from participating providers, PCPs are looking for medication consultation and care coordination support for this age group. Given this, we seek to increase to the current Hub staffing plan so the teams will be able to handle the influx of new calls while also maintaining fidelity to the model.


DCF is partnering with Beacon Health Options who contracts with three behavioral health organizations (Hartford Hospital, Wheeler Clinic, and Yale Child Study Center) to provide seasoned psychiatric consultation, care coordination, and training to PCPs across the state. In collaboration with the Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Social Services, and Public Health, and CT's chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics, we will tie all supports together to ensure that existing gaps are filled, and support is available as our system expands and strengthens.


Building on the existing infrastructure, this project expansion will collect data using a web-based information technology system built by Beacon. This system will allow the program to track and trend data such as, but not limited to individual demographics, participation of enrolled practices, presenting problems, type of consultation, diagnoses discussed, medications discussed, and treatment recommendations. Provider satisfaction is also collected on every call. Beacon will create dashboard reporting utilizing data entered by the Hub teams. Once developed, the interactive dashboards will allow the CT project team to monitor and assess progress against program outcomes and will aid in the team's ability to make data-driven decisions throughout the year. Dashboards will mark monthly, quarterly, and yearly progress allowing the team to analyze and compare progress over the five years of this project.