Impact of Child Psychiatry Access Programs on Mental Health Care in Pediatric Primary Care: Measuring the Parent Experience

Author Department

Medicine; Psychiatry

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date




This study aimed to assess parents' satisfaction with the primary care provider (PCP) in the treatment of their child's mental health problems after the PCP consulted with the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Program (MCPAP). It studied how parental satisfaction may vary across factors, including service utilization, parental perception of the child's illness, and parental perception of certain PCP attributes.


The study analyzed 374 telephone consultations made from PCPs to MCPAP between March 2010 and June 2012. Questions in a structured telephone survey administered to parents identified the types of services participants were referred to and assessed satisfaction rates on the basis of measures reflective of the patient-doctor relationship and of illness factors.


Eighty-six percent of participants expressed satisfaction with their PCP's handling of their child's mental health problems after MCPAP consultation. Participants who agreed with statements reflective of a positive patient-doctor relationship (in terms of the PCP's empathy and knowledge) exhibited higher rates of satisfaction with the PCP's role in the treatment of their child's mental health problems than those who did not agree. The most common recommendations made to families after consultation were to follow up with the child's PCP (94%) and to obtain further MCPAP consultation (78%).


The survey results indicated high rates of parents' satisfaction with the PCP's handling of their child's mental health issues. Recommendations made to PCPs by MCPAP consultants aimed to strengthen the PCP's role as a mental health provider.