1. MCH Workforce Development
  2. Funded Projects

Funded Projects

Louisiana Pediatric Mental Health Access Program (LaPMHCA)

Grant Status: Active

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

Project Director(s):

Paulette Carter
Louisiana Department of Health
1450 Poydras St., Suite 2013
New Orleans, LA  70112-1227
Phone: (504) 251-0085
Email: Paulette.G.Carter@LA.GOV


The mental health needs of Louisiana's children, youth, and families are significant and have only been exacerbated by the stressors from the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the shortage of mental health professionals in Louisiana, especially in rural areas, pediatric primary care providers are often the first line of care and treatment for children and youth with behavioral disorders, yet they report lacking the training, confidence, and time needed to address the behavioral health needs of their patients (Horwitz et al, 2015).

Goals and Objectives:

Overarching Goal: All children and adolescents in Louisiana, especially those in rural and underserved areas, will have equitable access to comprehensive integrated behavioral health services by increasing capacity among primary care providers to screen, diagnose, treat and refer as needed to mental health and supportive services.

Strategy 1: Provide mental health consultation and training.

  • Objective 1: Establish statewide access to web-based training and resources on screening, diagnosing, treating, and referring pediatric patients with mental health conditions.
  • Objective 2: Enroll providers and provide access to mental health consultation.
  • Objective 3: To provide timely mental health consultation to enrolled providers.
  • Objective 4: Develop, implement, and test a model approach to provide consultation and training to RHCs.
  • Objective 5: Improve pediatric provider self-efficacy as it relates to screening, diagnosing, treating, and referring pediatric patients with mental health conditions.

Strategy 2: Provide care coordination support.

  • Objective 1: Provide care coordination support to enrolled providers utilizing telehealth modalities. Providers and telehealth behavioral health providers.

Strategy 3: Ensure project sustainability.

  • Objective 1: Convene a diverse array of advisory board members comprised
  • Objective 2: Strengthen referral pathways between pediatric of key stakeholders and agencies needed to support a statewide pediatric mental health care access program.
  • Objective 3: Engage in activities to ensure sustainability after the 5-year grant period.


By providing training, mental health consultation and care coordination support to pediatric providers, the Louisiana Pediatric Mental Health Access Program (LaPMHCA) will support the integration of behavioral health services into the pediatric primary care setting, thereby increasing the access of children and youth to comprehensive care and strengthening the implementation of Medicaid's EPSDT (Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment) benefit which allows for all children under age 21 who are enrolled in Medicaid to be eligible for comprehensive preventive and developmental services, including routine health, mental health and developmental screening and evaluation and treatment for illnesses, conditions or disabilities.


Project partners include Tulane School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry; LSU School of Medicine, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Louisiana Rural Health Association; Louisiana Virtual Medicine Alliance; Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine; Well-Ahead Louisiana; Children's Hospital of New Orleans; Louisiana Department of Health, Office of Behavioral Health; and Louisiana Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Evaluation The evaluation will use a mixed-method longitudinal approach to assess the project's ability to build an equitable system focused on addressing the mental health needs of children and adolescents in Louisiana by providing training, consultation and care coordination for primary care providers. Quantitative and qualitative methods will evaluate the intervention's success at increasing the capacity of pediatric providers to screen, treat/manage and refer children and youth with mental health conditions.