Frequently Asked Questions

Please review the questions and answers below. If you have additional questions, please contact 1-844-WPA-TIPS/ 1-844-972-8477.

What is Children’s TiPS?

Children’s TiPS is available to children and adolescents in western Pennsylvania who are insured by Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance (Medicaid) Program, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and UPMC commercial insurance. Children’s TiPS is designed to help connect primary care clinicians with child psychiatrists. The program aims to improve behavioral health treatment for children in the state by providing psychiatric consultation to physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other prescribers of psychotropic medications.

With help from the Children’s TiPS teams, primary care clinicians in western Pennsylvania can effectively meet the needs of children and adolescents with mental health conditions such as ADHD, anxiety and depression. Some youth may need specialty psychiatric care or have needs that can not be managed in a primary care setting. TiPS care coordinators are available to assist providers and families with locating additional treatment resources within their own communities.

Who are Children’s TiPS team members?

The Children’s TiPS teams are comprised of child psychiatrists, licensed therapists, care coordinators and administrative support. They are available to assist any primary care clinician who sees children or adolescents.

What insurances cover TiPS?

At this time, you can utilize TiPS for patients who are insured by Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance (Medicaid) Program, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and UPMC commercial insurance.

Medicaid insurance types include:

  • Aetna Better Health
  • AmeriHealth Caritas
  • Gateway Health Plan
  • Medicaid FFS (Fee For Service)
  • United Healthcare Community Plan
  • UPMC for You

CHIP insurance types include:

  • Geisinger Health Plan Kids (GHP Kids)
  • Keystone Health Plan West (Highmark)
  • United Healthcare Community Plan of PA
  • UPMC for Kids

UPMC Advantage

What are Children’s TiPS core services?

Core services include:

  • telephone and face-to-face psychiatric consultations
  • care coordination
  • evaluation and bridge/brief treatment with a licensed therapist
  • training and education

When can I call the Children’s TiPS line?

Children’s TiPS will provide continuous coverage, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m at 1-844-WPA-TIPS / 1-844-972-8477. You may call any time during business hours to receive a live answer or leave a message any time outside business hours and your call will be returned on the next business day. TiPS is not available on holidays.

What information will I need when I call?

  • Physician name and return phone number
  • Specific time requested for a call back
  • Patient information:
    • Full name
    • Date of birth
    • Name of insurance
    • Foster care status (yes, no, former)
  • The reason for the call/question for the psychiatrist
  • Practice Information (if not enrolled)

Can families call the Children’s TiPS line?

No. The Children’s TiPS line is designated to be a consult service for primary care clinicians – PAs, MDs, CRNPs – only. Consulting with families directly is outside the scope of our services.

Can my office staff or nurse call Children’s TiPS?

Yes. Please have your staff call and tell us they would like to arrange a consult with a Children’s TiPS child and adolescent psychiatrist. We will ask them for your contact information, patient information, and when you are available for consultation.

Do I need to get my patient’s consent before calling Children’s TiPS?

No. “Curbside consultation” is a well established medical practice that does not require written, verbal or financial consent. Provider-to-provider consultation is covered within the boundaries of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

However, in order for your patient to receive additional services from TiPS, such as care coordination or a face-to-face evaluation, verbal consent is required. We recommend obtaining verbal consent prior to calling TiPS when possible to avoid a delay in services.

What kinds of questions may I ask a Children’s TiPS child psychiatrist?

Children’s TiPS supports and educates primary care clinicians on how to manage the behavioral health needs of children and adolescents in their care. A primary care clinician may call about:

  • a mental health question or concern pertaining to a specific patient
  • use of a psychiatric medication
  • a general behavioral health question that is not patient specific

What are the possible outcomes of a Children’s TiPS telephone consultation?

The following outcomes may result from the telephone consultation. The Children’s TiPS child psychiatrist may:

  • answer the primary care clinician’s question over the telephone;
  • request to see the patient for a face-to-face one time evaluation in order to answer the primary care clinician’s question;
  • refer the child and family to a Children's TiPS care coordinator for linkage to community services; or
  • recommend that the patient see a Children’s TiPs therapist for an evaluation and short-term transitional care if needed.

How much does it cost to enroll with Children’s TiPS?

Children’s TiPS is a free service to all Pennsylvania primary care providers who treat children and adolescents. The program is currently funded through Pennsylvania Health Choices and UPMC Advantage.