Walk-In Psychiatric Urgent Care Model Shows Promise for Underserved Patients

A novel walk-in psychiatry model with longitudinal follow-up capability could be an effective strategy to improve access to adult psychiatry services for individuals from underserved populations, according to results from a study published in Psychiatric Services.

Researchers retrospectively studied electronic health records of 355 patients who received an evaluation from a psychiatrist at an adult psychiatry practice during a period of 6 months. Within the practice, an urgent care clinic was established, focused exclusively on patients who had previously missed scheduled visits. The team collected patient demographic information and data to analyze clinic efficiency.

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After analysis, the researchers found that 23% of patients had their first psychiatry encounter in the walk-in setting (n=80). In addition, they reported that patients without a college degree (odds ratio [OR], 1.86; 95% CI, 1.04-3.32) and individuals receiving Medicaid (OR, 1.89; 95% CI, 1.10-3.24) had a greater likelihood of accessing care on a walk-in basis vs those with a college degree and those with alternative insurance providers.

One key limitation of the study was the small number of participants who accessed the walk-in services.

“Longitudinal walk-in psychiatry services can feasibly be offered through the longitudinal urgent care psychiatry model,” the researchers wrote. “This model may serve as a unique access point for patients from historically underserved groups,” they concluded.


Kroll DS, Wrenn K, Grimaldi JA, et al. Longitudinal urgent care psychiatry as a unique access point for underserved patients [published online May 14, 2019]. Psychiatr Serv. doi:10.1176/appi.ps.201900043