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Admits, Transfers, Referrals

Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center is world-renowned for pediatric patient care, including a wide spectrum of medical specialties such as neonatology, critical care medicine, surgery, cardiology and anesthesiology. Our pediatric patient care resources combine specialized skills and state-of-the-art technologies with a compassionate commitment to meeting the challenges of caring for infants and children. In addition, our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU) are nationally recognized for providing the highest standard of  care for seriously ill children.

When a patient's condition requires services available at Duke Children's, the process of admitting, transferring and referring patients is one of our top priorities.

To help referring physicians with the process, we are providing basic information for admitting, transferring, and referring patients to Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center in the sections below.

Duke Consultation and Referral Center (800-MED-DUKE)
Admissions, appointments, consultations

  • Facilitate admissions of your patient
  • Schedule a subspecialty appointment for your patient
  • Put you directly in touch with a specific physician or service
  • Assist with other requests such as medical records, continuing education events, general information regarding clinical programs, services and clinical trials at Duke

Patient Transfer Center (800-524-5433)
From your hospital/emergency department to Duke

  • Facilitiate the hospital-to-hospital transfer of your patient
  • Transfer your patient from an Emergency Department to Duke's Emergency Department
  • Transfer your patient from an Emergency Department to a Duke inpatient unit
  • Transfer your patient from an inpatient unit to a Duke inpatient unit

Patient Transfer to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) (919-970-1714)

Patient Transfer to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) (800-524-5433)

Patient Transfer to the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU) (800-524-5433)

Duke Consultation and Referral Center (800-MED-DUKE)

Admissions, appointments, consultations

To admit or refer patients to the Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center, call the Duke Consultation and Referral Center at 800-MED-DUKE (633-3853), 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This single, toll-free telephone number has been implemented specifically to facilitate physicians' requests for outpatient to inpatient direct admits, for subspecialty clinical referrals and to obtain phone consultations.

If you are calling about a patient who is in an Emergency Department or already admitted at your local hospital, call our Transfer Center.

Patient Transfer Center (800-524-5433)

Your hospital/emergency department to Duke

The Duke Transfer Center facilitates and streamlines the patient referral process for the transfer of inpatients from outlying facilities into the Duke University Health System. All referrals require a physician-to-physician consult to discuss patient condition prior to acceptance.

The Transfer Center is staffed by highly qualified registered nurses who triage requests made by physicians wishing to transfer a patient to Duke.

The goals of the Transfer Center are to:

  • Provide an easier mechanism to access the health system
  • Establish a designated contact point for our referring physicians
  • Provide accurate clinical information necessary to assist our Duke faculty in accepting patients into the health system
  • Coordinate with bed control to maintain minute-by-minute bed availability
  • Provide the crucial link of information to the receiving units at Duke, as well as our transport staff if we are requested to assist in moving the patient to Duke

The Transfer Center is currently responsible for assisting with interfacility tranfers of the following patients:

  • Pediatric patients to all service lines except bone marrow transplant
  • Adult patients to all service lines except cardiology, OB, and psychiatry at Duke
  • Adult patients to the MICU and general medicine at Durham Regional Hospital

The Transfer Center conferences the requesting MD with an attending physician in the appropriate service line at Duke to discuss patient condition and acceptance. Transfers are screened for medical necessity.

Making a Transfer Request

Information needed at the time of the request includes:

  • Requestor name/contact number for MD and facility
  • Referring MD/facility name
  • Diagnosis of patient
  • Date of birth
  • Level of care needed (e.g., floor, ICU)
  • Service line being requested (e.g., GSU, medicine, pediatrics, etc.)

If you would like to consult with a Duke physician regarding an outpatient, please call the Duke Referral Center at 888-ASK-DUKE.

For further questions or concerns, contact Marie Hale, RN, Clinical Operations Director for the Transfer Center and Bed Control, 919-681-2219. She can also be paged at 919-970-3989.

Transfer Center Contact Information

Duke University Hospital
2301 Erwin Road, Room 0653
Durham, NC 27710

919-681-3440 (Local)
800-524-5433 (Toll-free)
919-681-3950 (Fax)

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Patient Transfer to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) (919-970-1714)


Note: The optimal way to transfer a patient is to call:

  • Attending on Call: 919-970-1714 or

  • Fellow on Call: 919-681-5551


Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center uses Duke University Health System's Emergency Medical Services to transport premature and critically ill newborns to our neonatal intensive care unit from hospitals in the Triangle area and will facilitate transports from anywhere in the world. Our service is dedicated to providing rapid response with a highly skilled and experienced team of doctors, nurses and paramedics.

When a transfer has been arranged, a copy of the patient's medical records and other pertinent information should be sent with the infant. At Duke Children's, the goal is to keep an open line of communication with the referring physician and return all infants to their hospital of birth as soon as medically appropriate.

If you are a physician who would like to transfer an infant to the NICU at Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center, call 800-MED-DUKE (800-633-3853). A neonatologist will be available for consultations or to arrange for transport 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

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Patient Transfer to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) (800-524-5433)

Patient Transfer to the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU) (800-524-5433)

Duke Children's Hospital and Health Center serves as a referral center and regional resource for those hospitals that have patients requiring the level of care provided at our hospital. Our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) and Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (PCICU) provide state-of-the-art care around the clock for infants, children and adolescents with life-threatening illness and injuries and for those recovering from major and/or high-risk surgery.

Duke Children's uses Duke University Health System's Emergency Medical Services to transport premature and critically ill pediatric patients to our PICU and PCICU from hospitals in the Triangle area and will facilitate transports from anywhere in the world. Our service is dedicated to providing rapid response with a highly skilled and experienced team of doctors, nurses and paramedics.

The referring physician will provide:

  • Name and phone number of referring hospital
  • Patient's and parent's name and address/telephone number
  • Copy of the patient's medical records and other relevant information
  • Medical insurance information

Referring physicians who need to transfer a patient to the PICU or PCICU can call the Duke Patient Transfer Center at 800-524-LIFE (5433), 24 hours a day/7 days a week and ask for the attending or critical care fellow.

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