• Contact Us

    Laboratory Services Section
    MC 1947
    PO Box 149347 Austin, TX 78714-9347
    1100 W. 49th Street
    Austin, TX 78756-3199

    Phone: (512) 776-7318
    Fax: (512) 776-7294

    Phone Us Toll Free at:
    (888) 963-7111, ext. 7318

    Mailing/Shipping Info

    Email the Laboratory

Austin Laboratory Correspondence and Bulletins

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See also South Texas Laboratory Correspondence and Bulletins.


Thanksgiving Holiday Closure Notices

The Texas DSHS Laboratory in Austin will be closed:

11/23/2017 - Thursday
11/24/2017 – Friday

Newborn Screening (NBS)

Testing Notices:

  • NBS specimens received and accessioned on Wednesday, 11/22/2017 will be tested immediately by the NBS laboratory.
  • Healthcare providers may be notified of critical level preliminary presumptive positive results on Thursday, 11/23/2017 (Thanksgiving Day).
  • NBS testing will resume on Saturday, 11/25/2017.
  • Healthcare providers may be notified of critical level preliminary presumptive positive results on Sunday, 11/26/2017.

Healthcare Provider Reminders:

  • DO NOT delay collection or shipment of newborn screening specimens.
  • Ship dried specimens within 24 hours. If mail or courier services are unavailable, ship as quickly as possible.

Clinical Chemistry

Testing Notices:

  • The Clinical Chemistry laboratory must receive specimen submissions for total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid/cholesterol and creatinine testing by Wednesday, 11/22/2017 to complete testing prior to the holiday.
  • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid profile, glucose, or creatinine specimens on Fridays or on the day before a state-observed holiday. 

Healthcare Provider Reminders:

  • Specimens submitted for lead and total hemoglobin testing must be received within 14 days of collection.
  • Specimens submitted for glucose, lipid/cholesterol and creatinine testing must be received according to specimen submission guidelines available at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/lab/mrs_labtests_toc.shtm

Microbiology

Testing Notices:

  • Specimens for rabies testing should be shipped via Greyhound Bus.  Specimens received between 8 AM and noon on Wednesday, 11/22/2017 will be tested Friday, 11/24/2017 and positive results will be called out before noon.  Emergency testing will be available on Friday, 11/24/2017 and Saturday, 11/25/2017 by arrangement with laboratory personnel (512-776-7595) if specimen receipt can be guaranteed.   Negative specimen results will be available Monday, 11/27/2017.  All other specimens will be tested on Monday, 11/27/2017 and reported before 5 PM.

Healthcare Provider Reminders:

  • Viral Isolation Laboratory:  Do not ship specimens Wednesday, 11/22/2017 – Sunday, 11/26/2017.  If specimens are collected during this time period, please store at -70°C or below and ship specimens the following week, beginning Monday, 11/27/2017 on dry ice.
  • Mycobacteriology/Mycology Laboratory (TB): To receive expedited AFB Smear and/or NAAfor M. tuberculosis test results before the holiday, please ensure that specimens are delivered to the laboratory by 8:30 AM on Wednesday, 11/22/2017. Please telephone expedited test requests to 512-776-7342.

Posted Nov. 13, 2017


Important Notice

Information regarding Chagas Disease (American trypanosomiasis) specimen submission

Guidance for submission of Chagas Disease specimens to CDC, through the DSHS Laboratory, is provided by the Zoonosis Control Branch.

This includes testing acceptance criteria for both Serology and PCR in humans, and testing in bugs.  Call 512-776-2888.

Posted Oct. 20, 2017


Alert Regarding Microbiological Testing

On Thursday, October 12, 2017, DSHS Laboratory experienced an incident with the Public Health Laboratory Information Management System.  Please be aware that this incident may create duplicate result reports.  Please use the most recent report for all inquiries with DSHS.  A formal letter with additional information will be sent out soon.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact DSHS Laboratory Reporting at 512-776-7578.

Posted Oct. 13, 2017


Hurricane Harvey Contingencies: Newborn Screening

Important Actions:

  • For All Newborns in your care:
    • Collect 1st screens at 24-48 hours of age.
    • Collect 2nd screens at 7-14 days of age.
  • The 2nd screen may be the earliest opportunity to identify a newborn screening disorder.
    • If the 1st screen was missed, collect a specimen as soon as possible,
    • Collect the 2nd screen soon after 7 days of age.
  • Ensure the parent/guardian contact information will be valid throughout any potential family/baby relocation.
  • Ship specimens as soon as possible.
  • Ensure that newborn screening results are known, documented, and discussed with the family/caregiver.
  • Facilitate repeat or confirmatory testing, appropriate subspecialty referral and timely intervention if necessary
    Services:
  • The Texas Newborn Screening Program is fully operational and here to provide service and support.
  • Contact the DSHS Laboratory if you need specific help or have a suggestion on how DSHS can assist you with getting newborn screening specimens to the Laboratory. 

Posted Sept 7, 2017


Newborn Screening Guidance Following Hurricane Harvey

If you are a heath care provider in an affected area and have suggestions for how DSHS can assist with getting newborn screening specimens to the Laboratory, please contact the Laboratory at NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov  or call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333.

As you continue to deal with the destruction and aftermath of the hurricane:

  • Know:
  • The Texas Newborn Screening Program is fully operational and here to provide service and support.
  • The US Postal Service and courier services have not been able to operate in certain areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Providers should continue to:

  • Collect and dry newborn screens within the appropriate time frames.
  • Ensure the parent/guardian contact information will be valid throughout any potential family/baby relocation.
  • Ship as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours after collection.
  • Contact courier directly for service information for your area
  • If courier services are interrupted, store the specimens at room temperature in a dry location.
  • Do not put specimens in air-tight sealed containers.
  • Ensure that newborn screening results are known, documented, and discussed with the family/caregiver.
  • Facilitate repeat or confirmatory testing, appropriate subspecialty referral and timely intervention if necessary.

Preparation for Hurricane Harvey: DSHS Laboratory Specimen Handling 

As Texas prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Harvey, the DSHS Laboratory has these tips for submitters to follow:

  1. Collect all specimens as usual.
  2. Expect delays from courier and postal services for areas that will be impacted by the hurricane, but ship as soon as possible
    • If you use courier services, contact them directly for additional information about your location
    • If courier/mail services are interrupted, store specimens to ensure they remain at the appropriate temperature and conditions until shipping/mailing.
      • Freeze serum specimens after collection for glucose, cholesterol/HDL/lipid panel, creatinine, and HIV/syphilis. 
      • Refrigerate whole blood specimens for lead and hemoglobin.
      • Maintain newborn screening specimens in a dry location
      • Rabies specimens should be kept refrigerated until shipping is available.
      • Specimens for mycobacterial culture should be refrigerated until shipping is available.
  3. Anticipate loss of power and possible flooding. Prepare a backup storage method, especially for those specimens that require refrigeration and freezing.
  4. Expect a possible backlog for courier and postal services when they resume.  

Posted Aug. 25, 2017


Hurricane Harvey: Newborn Screening Guidance

As you prepare for the weather, please remember:

  • Do Not Delay Newborn Screening Specimen Collection
    • Collect 1st screens at 24-48 hours of age
    • Collect 2nd screens at 7-14 days of age
  • Allow specimens to dry completely (3-4 hours)
  • Ensure the parent/guardian contact information will be valid throughout any potential family/baby relocation
  • Ship As Soon As Possible
    • If you use courier services, contact them directly for additional information about your location
    • If courier services are interrupted, store dried specimens at room temperature in a dry location
  • DO NOT put specimens in air-tight sealed containers
  • If a child has been transferred to another facility, include the newborn screening specimen collection status in the transfer documentation so that the receiving facility is aware if the specimen still needs to be collected.

Posted Aug. 25, 2017


2015 Expired Kit Notice:

Newborn Screening kits with a serial number beginning with 15 (15-XXXXXXX) EXPIRE on September 19, 2017. Use ‘15 kits first to collect specimens before they are set to expire. Specimens Collected on ‘15 kits after September 19, 2017 will be REJECTED.

Posted: August 10, 2017 


DSHS Laboratory Now Offers Creatinine Testing

Effective August 1, 2017, the Department of State Health Services Austin Laboratory began offering Creatinine testing for clients/patients receiving HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).  Serum specimens should be submitted at appropriate temperature to the DSHS Laboratory using an overnight courier with the G-1B specimen submission form with HIV/STD marked as the Payor Source.  See the DSHS Laboratory Testing Services Manual for further details on specimen collection, handling, and shipping at http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/mrs_labtests_toc.shtm.  For questions related to shipping, contact Tammy.Foskey@dshs.texas.gov.

Posted: August 2, 2017 


DSHS Laboratory to Offer Creatinine Testing

Effective August 1, 2017, the Department of State Health Services Austin Laboratory will begin offering Creatinine testing for clients/patients receiving HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).  Serum specimens should be submitted at appropriate temperature to the DSHS Laboratory using an overnight courier with the G-1B specimen submission form with HIV/STD marked as the Payor Source.  See the DSHS Laboratory Testing Services Manual for further details on specimen collection, handling, and shipping at http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/mrs_labtests_toc.shtm.  For questions related to shipping, contact Tammy.Foskey@dshs.texas.gov.

Posted: July 10, 2017 


 The DSHS Refugee Program will no longer cover laboratory testing services effective January 31, 2017  

Effective February 1, 2017, Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory submitters who submit laboratory testing requests using the DSHS Program Payor “Refugee” will be charged for the cost of the laboratory testing services.

As a reminder: Please select the appropriate payor for the laboratory testing requested and provide all required information, as indicated on the laboratory submission forms:

Biochemistry and Genetics Specimen Submission Form – Sample, revised 9/2016

Serology Specimen Submission Form – Sample, revised 9/2016

Bacteriology and Parasitology Specimen Submission Form – Sample, revised 9/2016

Virology Specimen Submission Form – Sample, revised 7/2016

Mycobacteriology/Mycology Specimen Submission Form – Sample, revised 9/2016

The DSHS Laboratory accepts the following third party coverage: Traditional Medicaid, Medicaid Managed Care, Fee for Service/Traditional Medicare, Medicare Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), and Commercial Insurance Plans such as Blue Cross Blue Shield.  

NOTE:  The DSHS Laboratory is not an in-network provider for Medicaid's Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Services for CHIP covered members should not be submitted to the DSHS Laboratory.

Posted: January 3, 2017 


UPDATED

Holiday hours: Christmas and New Year’s submission information

The Department of State Health Services Laboratory will be closed Saturday, 12/24/2016, Sunday, 12/25/2016 and Monday, 12/26/2016 for the Christmas holiday. It will be closed Monday, 1/2/2017 for the New Year holiday. For more information and to view the holiday testing schedule, please view the DSHS Lab 2016 Holiday Closures/Testing Reminders Notice. 

Effective December 22, 2016 


Holiday hours

The Department of State Health Services Laboratory will be closed 11/24/2016 and 11/25/2016 for the Thanksgiving holiday. For more information and to view the holiday testing schedule, please view the DSHS Lab 2016 Thanksgiving Holiday Closure Notice

Effective November 15, 2016 


Influenza Information for Laboratories

The Department of State Health Services Influenza Laboratory Surveillance Program has updated two documents ahead of the 2016/2017 influenza season.

See the Laboratory Testing Protocol: Influenza Surveillance (pdf, 103kb) document for information on acceptable specimens, specimen labeling and submission for completion, packing and shipment information, a complete list of Laboratory Response Network laboratories, contact information, and more.

The Laboratory Packing and Shipping Diagram (pdf, 131kb) document visually depicts how to pack influenza specimens for shipping. 

Lab testing for clinical disease management purposes in individual patients is not a primary function of public health laboratory testing. Such diagnostic testing, if desired, should be performed by commercial laboratories.

Updated October 10, 2016 


Revised laboratory fee schedules, effective October 1, 2016, are now available.

To view the current Austin Laboratory and South Texas Laboratory fee schedules, please use the following link: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/fees.shtm

Effective 10/1/16


Revised Notice: Change in Fee Effective Date is now availableclick here to read the notice letter
   Effective 8/30/16


Revised Specimen Submission Forms are now availableclick here to read the notice letter.
   Effective 8/30/16


Virology Testing Changes

Effective September 1, 2016, Viral Isolation and Viral Reference Culture will no longer be available at the DSHS Laboratory in Austin. This change is reflected in the most recent version of the G-2V form (July 2016). Questions should be directed to the Viral Isolation team at 512-776-7594 or 512-776-7515.
   Posted 8/19/16


Revised Notice: Change in HIV testing

Effective October 1, 2016, the DSHS Laboratory in Austin will begin using the new HIV diagnostic testing algorithm. HIV screening will be performed by the HIV Ag-Ab Multiplex flow immunoassay using BioPlex 2200 for HIV detection. Results of this test will distinguish between the presence of HIV antibodies or antigen in one specimen. Additional supplemental tests will be automatically performed to confirm the presence of antibodies to HIV-1 or HIV-2 and HIV-1 p24 antigen by Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) performed by the Dallas Co. Dept. Of Health and Human Services at: 2377 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas TX 75207, CLIA # 45D0672012. A single HIV report will be released with the result interpretation guidelines. The serum specimen acceptance criteria for the testing will not change.

HIV Ag-Ab assay is an important development for HIV testing that improves the ability to detect HIV infections earlier. The new diagnostic testing algorithm will perform better than the current algorithm for identifying HIV infections by reducing turnaround time and reporting results for all of the individual HIV analytes (HIV-1 Ab, HIV-2 Ab, and HIV-1 p24 Ag). With FDA's approval of the GeeniusTM HIV 1 / 2 Supplemental assay for use as the second test in this algorithm, DSHS laboratory will adopt this algorithm.

HIV-1 EIA for Oral Fluid (Avioq) and Western Blot (WB) for serum and Dried Blood (Bio-Rad) and Oral Fluid (OraSure) samples have been discontinued effective 9/1/2016.  Multispot will be discontinued and replaced with GeeniusTM for confirmation for HIV-1 / HIV-2 antibodies on October 1, 2016.  NAAT will be performed only as a follow up test for the HIV screening using the new HIV diagnostic testing algorithm and will not be offered as a standalone test at the DSHS Laboratory.

Questions should be directed to the Serology Team at 512-776-7657. 
   Posted 9/14/16


Zika Testing Notification

Notice to all submitters requesting Zika virus testing. Please use the most recent version of the G-2V form (July 2016) for requesting all Zika virus testing and check the box for “Zika, Dengue, and/or Chikungunya”. If you submit the G-2A form or the old G-2V form marked with Zika serology only or Zika PCR only respectively, the test performed by the laboratory will be determined using the most current CDC guidelines for testing and epidemiological information.

For Payor Source (Section 6 of the G-2V):

  • Do NOT check a DSHS program as a Payor Source if the patient has Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance; the submitter should provide all insurance information.
  • FOR ZIKA-RELATED TESTING REQUESTS ONLY: please mark “Zoonosis” as the Payor Source IF THE PATIENT DOES NOT HAVE Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurance.

For the most recent information regarding specimen types, specimen collection, and specimen shipping and instructions on how to complete the payor information on the G-2V form, please see specimen collection protocol located at http://www.texaszika.org/docs/DSHS-Chik-Den-Zika-Serology-and-PCR-specimens.pdf.

To request a submitter ID number please complete the Submitter Identification (ID) Number Request Form and follow the instructions for submitting the form.
   Posted 8/8/16


Change in Laboratory Testing Acceptance Criteria – Specimen Labeling Must Include Two Patient Identifiers

Effective September 1, 2016, all specimens must be labeled with at least two patient specific identifiers; both a primary and a secondary identifier. The identifiers must appear on both the primary container (or card) and the associated submission form. Please see the specimen acceptance criteria update letter for additional details and acceptable patient identifiers.
   Posted 7/25/16


Proposed changes to the Texas Administrative Code, Title 25. Health Services, Part 1. Department of State Health Services, Chapter 73. Laboratories, were published for public comment in the June 3, 2016 edition of the Texas Register. This section of the Texas Administrative Code is where all laboratory tests and fees are located. These changes are proposed to take effect September 1, 2016.Changes include fee increases, fee decreases, deleting low volume tests, and adding new tests. These proposed changes will affect all areas of the DSHS Laboratory. Specific information about all proposed changes can be found on the Secretary of State's website.
   Posted 6/9/16


Submit Zika Specimens Directly to DSHS Laboratory – not CDC

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Fort Collins has requested that specimens for the detection of Zika virus by real time RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) be submitted to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory in Austin, TX.

Effective immediately, do not ship specimens for rRT-PCR directly to CDC. All specimens for Zika virus should first be submitted to the DSHS Laboratory or an approved Local Health Department Laboratory performing rRT-PCR in Texas. Specimens sent directly to CDC will be forwarded to the DSHS Laboratory resulting in further delay of testing.

For information regarding submission to the DSHS Laboratory, please see specimen collection protocol located at http://www.texaszika.org/docs/DSHS-Chik-Den-Zika-Serology-and-PCR-specimens.pdf. Note: Serum is required for this testing. Please contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Health Services Region prior to shipping to ensure patient meets criteria for testing.

For additional information related to the Zika virus, go to www.texaszika.org.
   Posted 3/31/16


Required Information for Specimen Submission Forms
   Effective 3/1/16


Reminder regarding the G-THSTEPS specimen submission form

The Laboratory Services Section wants to remind you to use ONLY the G-THSTEPS specimen submission form to request testing of specimens collected as part of the Texas Health Steps medical checkup that now includes a requirement for HIV testing. Please see the letter distributed to submitters for further details.
   Effective 1/15/16


2015 Holiday Closure/Testing Reminders
   Effective 12/22/15


Laboratory Annual Customer Satisfaction Survey

The Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory Services Section, located in Austin, is conducting an annual customer satisfaction survey in an effort to improve services.

Your responses are very important to us. Please complete our survey and help us determine how well we meet your needs. They will help us to address any issues that you may have as well as to improve our services.

The survey is available online at: http://2015customersatisfaction.questionpro.com.

Please complete the survey by December 31, 2015.


Mumps IgM Antibody test to be discontinued December 1, 2015

Effective Dec. 1, 2015, the Mumps IgM Antibody test will no longer be offered at the DSHS Laboratory due to unavailability of reagents; however, the Laboratory will continue to offer Mumps IgG Antibody and Mumps PCR testing. Please refer to our Laboratory Testing Services Manual for appropriate specimen types and shipping conditions.
   Effective 12/01/15


2015 Thanksgiving Closure/Testing Reminders
   Effective 11/24/15


Notice to all submitters who receive faxed report results

Effective August 24, 2015, the DSHS Laboratory upgraded the Public Health Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). This upgrade changes the method for how reports are faxed to submitters. Previously, each submitter would receive one cover sheet followed directly by multiple reports. For the new LIMs, each faxed report will begin with a separate coversheet followed by a single independent report. This change will apply to all providers who receive single and multiple reports via fax.

If you have questions about reports please call 512-776-6275.
   Effective 08/24/15


Revised specimen submission forms are now available –  click here to read the notice letter.
   Effective 09/01/15


Revised laboratory fee schedules, effective September 1, 2015, are now available.

To view the current Austin Laboratory and South Texas Laboratory fee schedules, please use the following link: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/lab/fees.shtm
   Effective 09/01/15


New Options for Receiving Rabies Test Results

The Laboratory Services Section (LSS) can now offer you the opportunity of receiving all rabies test reports (positive, non-negative, or negative) via Fax or through the LSS Results-Web Portal as soon as the test result reports are completed!

The LSS will continue to telephone you with all positive and non-negative test results. However, as of September 1, 2015, the LSS will no longer call you with negative test results. These results will only be available via mail, fax, or web portal.

It is very simple for you to take advantage of the new reporting options.

If you have questions, please contact Tiffunee Odoms at 512-776-6275.
   Effective 09/1/2015


The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory Services Section (LSS) is in the process of revising rules concerning laboratory testing and fees for some laboratory services. These revisions will take effect September 1, 2015.

The following revision has been made to the Austin DSHS Laboratory test menu, effective September 1, 2015:

  • New test added: Emerging Disease PCR

Also, the Austin DSHS Laboratory plans to add Cyclospora Identification (PCR) and Respiratory Viral Panel (PCR) to our test menu this year. No changes have been made to the South Texas DSHS Laboratory test menu.

The new fee schedule for the Austin Laboratory will be posted to the DSHS Laboratory website by August 31, 2015. To view the current Austin Laboratory and South Texas Laboratory fee schedules, please use the following link: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/lab/fees.shtm

As with previous fee revisions, additional information regarding changes to existing laboratory forms or processes will be provided as the new fees are implemented.

Required fields for each laboratory specimen submission form are clearly marked with a double asterisk ** and/or the word “REQUIRED.” Failure to complete all required fields may result in the submitter being billed for the testing service, regardless of the payor selected.

The DSHS Laboratories will accept ICD-9 coding through September 30, 2015; however, effective October 1, 2015, submitters must provide the appropriate ICD-10 code for the testing services requested. As a reminder, diagnosis coding (ICD-9/ICD-10) is not applicable to non-human specimen testing.
   Effective 09/1/2015


The DSHS published proposed rules changes to the Texas Administrative Code that impacts testing and associated fees. The 30 day public comments period opened May 22. All comments should be sent to Amy Schlabach at Amy.Schlabach@dshs.state.tx.us or (512) 776-6191. See the Laboratory Rules page for additional information.
   Effective 05/22/2015


DSHS Austin Laboratory Scheduled Power Outage (PDF 107kb)
   Effective 03/13/2015


Effective March 1, 2015, revisions to the instructions for the G-1B specimen submission form have been made. No changes have been made to the G-1B specimen submission form. To view the updated instructions, visit the DSHS Laboratory website at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/lab/mrs_forms.shtm, scroll down to "Test Request Form Samples", and click on Form # G-1B. For questions, contact Susan Hoffpauir at 512-776-6030 or susan.hoffpauir@dshs.state.tx.us.
   Effective 03/1/2015


As of April 1st, 2015, the Viral Isolation Team will no longer perform viral isolation using cell culture methods on measles, mumps, or rubella specimens. Specimens submitted for measles and mumps testing will be tested by rRT-PCR, and specimens submitted for rubella will be forwarded on to CDC for testing. In addition, any specimens that are positive for measles or mumps will be forwarded on to CDC for further characterization/genotyping. Specimens that do not meet DSHS criteria for testing may be forwarded on to CDC upon approval. Please contact (512)-776-7594 if you have any questions regarding specimen submission for measles, mumps, or rubella.
   Effective 04/1/2015


2014 Holiday Closure/Testing Reminders (Word 41kb)
   Effective 12/22/14


Effective immediately, Toxoplasma and Bartonella IgG Antibody tests will no longer be offered at the DSHS Laboratory due to unavailability of reagents. You can contact commercial laboratories for Toxoplasma and Bartonella antibody testing, if needed.
   Effective 12/9/14


2014 Thanksgiving Closure/Testing Reminders (Word 65kb)
    Effective 11/21/14


The Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory Services Section, located in Austin, is conducting an annual customer satisfaction survey in an effort to improve services. Your responses are very important to us. Please complete our survey, by November 21, 2014, to help us determine how well we meet your needs. Your answers will help us to address any issues that you may have as well as to improve our services.  Click here to complete the survey: http://2014dshslaboratorysurvey.questionpro.com/.
   Effective 10/21/14


Revised  specimen submission forms –  click here to read the notice letter.
   Effective 09/01/14


Fee revisions will take effect September 1, 2014, and will include the discontinuation of some low volume tests, addition of new tests, renaming of some tests to more accurately reflect the actual procedure, and adjustment of some test pricing, as applicable.
   Effective 09/01/14


Changes to Newborn Screening Result Reporting Statements (PDF 188kb) 
   Effective 02/14


2013 Holiday Instructions for Mailing Clinical Chemistry Specimens to the DSHS Laboratory (PDF 40kb)
   Effective 11/13


The DSHS Laboratory has implemented the HIV confirmatory testing using the Multispot HIV-1/HIV-2 Rapid Test, effective October 1, 2013. HIV-1 Western Blot (WB) for serum samples will not be performed for HIV-1 confirmation and will be available for reference testing purposes only. 
   Effective 10/01/13


HIV confirmatory testing using the multispot methodology will not go into effect September 1, 2013, as previously communicated with submitters. The DSHS Laboratory will continue to use the Western Blot for confirmatory testing until the mulitspot testing is ready, with implementation anticipated by October 1, 2013.
   Effective 10/01/13


The DSHS Laboratory has extended the deadline for completing the annual customer satisfaction survey. We ask that you please complete the survey, by October 15, 2013.
   Effective 10/01/13


Click here to read a billing update on a DSHS Laboratory notice from April 2013, regarding an issue which may have impacted certain charges for testing. The types of testing affected were for potable water testing and microbiological testing (e.g., bacteriology, serology, virology, TB, and parasitology). Newborn screening, clinical chemistry and environmental testing were not affected.  
   Effective 09/12/13


Beginning September 1, 2013, important changes will be made that will impact testing, fees associated with testing and laboratory reporting. For more detailed information regarding these changes, please visit http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/lab/newRules.html.
   Effective 09/01/13


Revised  specimen submission forms –  click here to read the notice letter.
   Effective 09/01/13


The DSHS Laboratory Services Section (LSS) is in the process of revising rules concerning laboratory testing and fees for some laboratory services. These revisions will take effect September 1, 2013 and will include the discontinuation of some low volume tests, addition of new tests, renaming of some tests to more accurately reflect the actual procedure, and adjustment of some test pricing, as applicable.
   Effective 09/01/13


The DSHS published proposed rules changes to the Texas Administrative Code that impacts testing and associated fees. The 30 day public comments period opened June 15. All comments should be sent to Amy Schlabach at Amy.Schalabch@dshs.state.tx.us or (512) 776-6191. See the Laboratory Rules page for additional information.
   Effective 06/15/13


Effective, September 01, 2013, Title V fee-for-service (FFS) contractors may send Title V laboratory testing specimens to the laboratory of the contractors’ choice. FFS contractors will no longer be required to submit covered Title V laboratory testing to the DSHS Laboratories (PDF 73kb).
   Effective 09/01/13


The Texas Department of State Health Services, in conjunction with the Association of Public Health Laboratories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is celebrating 50 years of Newborn Screening in the United States. A traveling display highlighting the major accomplishments of Newborn Screening will be in Texas May 13-May 24, 2013. DSHS is sponsoring two events to commemorate the occasion.


The Laboratory Services Section has revised the G-1B, G-THSTEPS, G-2A, G-2B and G-22 specimen submission forms, effective November 2012. A new specimen submission form, G-MYCO, has been created for mycobateriology/mycology specimens.
   Effective 11/01/12


Revised F40-A and F40-B Specimen Submission Forms
   Effective 10/29/12


Revised Laboratory Fee Schedule:

   Effective 10/10/12


Update on revised Laboratory Fee Schedule and changes to the menu of tests (PDF 984kb).
   Effective 11/01/12


The Newborn Screening Voice Response System (VRS) will be permanently shut down as of September 1, 2012 (PDF 98kb). 
   Effective 09/01/12


Effective August 31, 2012, the Women’s Health Laboratory (WHL) in San Antonio will be closed. Former customers of WHL are asked to contact the main Austin DSHS Laboratory for data related to testing performed by WHL, including previously released test results and result reports. The Main Austin DSHS Laboratory number is phone (512) 776-7318 and toll free (888) 963-7111, ext. 7318.
Questions regarding WHL laboratory customer accounts and/or bills related to WHL testing services may be directed to the DSHS Billing Branch: by phone (512) 776-7317 and toll free (888) 963-7111, ext. 7317 (Customers will be directed to leave your name, account number and phone number for a representative to return your call); by fax to (512) 776-7588; or by email LabAR@dshs.state.tx.us. All calls, faxes and emails will be responded to within three working days of receipt.
   Effective 08/31/12

Notice of new resources on the Newborn Screening Laboratory website (PDF 88kb). 
   Effective 08/31/12


Revised G-THSTEPS Specimen Submission Form
   Effective 08/22/12


Texas Health Steps (THSTEPS) testing and supply changes  (PDF 63kb) 
   Effective 08/09/12


WHL is closing and will no longer be accepting specimens as of August 9, 2012 (PDF 812kb).
   Effective 08/09/12


After hours receipt of samples is temporarily unavailable. All packages transported through a courier (FedEx, UPS, LoneStar Overnight) will be accepted during regular business hours. Specimens submitted to Greyhound Bus Station-Austin will be picked up by laboratory staff as usual. Hand-delivered samples will be accepted only during regular business hours Monday - Friday (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) until further notice. If you have questions concerning this issue, please call (512) 776-7598.
   Effective 06/22/12


Expired Test Kits Notice (PDF 65kb)
   Effective 05/31/12


The proposed rules concerning laboratory fees that will be  presented at the February 23, 2012 DSHS Council meeting are available for your review here: Proposed Preamble and Rule Text. The Council meeting is an open meeting under Texas law, and the Council will allow interested members of the public to speak before the Council votes on whether to recommend to the HHSC executive commissioner that the rules be proposed in the Texas Register. Information about the DSHS Council meetings is available at   http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/council/default.shtm .  If the proposed amendments are published in the Texas Register, there will be an official 30-day public comment period during which DSHS will accept written comments regarding the proposed rule changes
   Posted 02/02/12


Revised rules concerning fees for laboratory services (PDF 132kb)
   Effective 12/20/11


Newborn Screening Healthcare Provider Requirements regarding the Use and Storage of Newborn Screening Blood Spot Cards
   Effective 12/20/11


Notice of upcoming changes to the WHL specimen submission process
   Effective 11/23/11


Revised M-47 Specimen Submission Form 
   Effective 10/26/11


Revised G-1B, G-2A, G-2B, and G-THSTEPS Specimen Submission Forms
   Effective 08/10/11


Submitters, please take five minutes to help us improve our DSHS Laboratory services in Austin, Texas by completing this Laboratory survey (link expired). Available until August 1, 2011.
   Effective 06/03/11


The DSHS Laboratory will no longer accept serum specimens that have been collected in serum separator tubes (SST) and frozen
   Effective 04/09/11


Important update for customers using FedEx for Dangerous Goods shipping (PDF 33kb)
   Effective 01/10/11

2010 Holiday Instructions for Mailing Clinical Chemistry Specimens to the DSHS Laboratory (PDF 24kb)
   Effective 10/10


Testing is now reinstated for the Coxiella burnetii (Q-Fever) Antibody IgG test at the DSHS Laboratory. For more information, please view the Serology Specimen Acceptance Criteria (PDF 85k) or contact Eleanor Williams via email or phone at 512-458-7514 (888-963-7111, ext. 7514 toll free).
   Effective 09/20/10


The DSHS Laboratory will no longer offer Triple Screen testing
   Effective 09/01/10


Learn about and complete the Laboratory Client Satisfaction Survey (link expired), for those who submit specimens to the Laboratory.
   Deadline 08/23/10


Notice to Newborn Screening Customers regarding types of screening kits (NBS3 and NBS4)
   Effective 06/25/10


Revised G-1B, G-2A, G-2B, and new G-THSTEPS Specimen Submission Forms
   Effective 06/01/10


New requirements for submitting triple screen specimens
   Effective 02/26/10


Change in Policy on Accepting Payment for Specimens/Samples submitted after 5:00pm (PDF 25kb)
   Effective 02/01/10


Acceptance/rejection criteria for Water Bacteriology tests
   Effective 01/01/10


Newborn Screening Fee Increase and Cystic Fibrosis
   Effective 12/01/09


DSHS Begins Screening Newborns for Cystic Fibrosis - En español
   Effective 12/01/09


2009 Holiday Instructions for Mailing Clinical Chemistry Specimens to the DSHS Laboratory (PDF 25kb)
   Effective 10/09


Effective immediately, Coxiella burnetii (Q-Fever) Antibody IgG test is temporarily suspended at the DSHS Laboratory due to unavailability of reagents for testing. Please contact a commercial reference laboratory for Q-Fever testing, if needed. We will reinstate testing as soon as we are able to obtain new reagents for this test.
   Effective 10/28/09


View the newest issue of our quarterly newsletter and sign up for email updates online - The Laboratorian: News from the DSHS Laboratory
   Effective 10/01/09


New guidelines for laboratory testing protocol for the surveillance of Novel H1N1 Influenza and Seasonal Influenza (PDF 182kb).
Click here to view the web version.
   Effective 09/25/09


New Requirements for Physicians or Persons Attending the Birth of a Newborn
   Effective 08/01/09

  • Starter Label Set and Frequently Asked Questions or FAQ web page

View our newsletter and sign up for email updates online - The Laboratorian: News from the DSHS Laboratory
   Effective 07/01/09


Understanding Swine Influenza Kit Test Results
   Effective 05/02/09


DSHS Laboratory Services Section reminds everyone who submits blood specimens in serum separator tubes to adhere to manufacturer’s instructions, including proper collection, volume requirement, and centrifugation to insure complete separation of serum before shipping for testing.
   Effective 03/12/09


As of January 1, 2009, the S3620 code is again a recognized payable Newborn Screening billing code for TRICARE beneficiaries. Click here for a printable notice with details. (PDF 34kb)
   Effective 01/01/09


Starting March 2, 2009, specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected. Please look through your stock, note expiration dates, and discard any expired stock. For any questions or to place an order for new stock, please call (512) 458-7661 or fax your request to (512) 458-7672. Click here for a printable version of this notice. (PDF 32kb)
   Effective 03/02/09


Change in criteria for specimens submitted for syphilis (RPR and TPPA), HIV, and Hepatitis C testing.
Click here to access the Serum Specimen Criteria information page.
   Effective 03/12/09


Bordetella pertussis Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) specimen acceptance/rejection criteria
   Effective 12/01/08


EHEC EIA for the detection of Shigatoxin acceptance/rejection criteria
   Effective 12/01/08


Clinical viral specimen acceptance/rejection criteria
   Effective 12/01/08


DSHS Results-Web Portal
   Effective 09/2008


Revised G-1B, G-1C, G-2A, G-2B, F40-A, and F40-B Specimen Submission Forms
   Effective 09/2008


2008 NBS Remote Data Pilot Project letter, security forms, and availability request:


Revised G-1B and F40 Specimen Submission Forms
   Effective 04/2008


Notices of conversion from COHORT to LabWare, beginning late March 2008:


Survey: Newborn Screening (NBS) HL7 Data Transfer Capability
   Effective 02/08/08 - 09/01/08


New Serology Specimen Acceptance Criteria (PDF 85k)
   Effective 01/01/08


Holiday Instructions:  Mailing Specimens to the DSHS Laboratory
   Effective 12/10/07


Revised Hepatitis and Rubella specimen acceptance/rejection criteriara
   Effective 12/01/07


Specimens for lead and total hemoglobin testing must be received within 10 days of collection
   Effective 10/01/07


Notices of revised testing fee schedule, effective 09/01/07:



Specimen acceptance/rejection guidelines for submission of Arbovirus serology specimens
   Effective 05/08/07


New requirements for packaging and shipping rabies specimens
   Effective 03/12/07


The cost of a newborn screening specimen kit is set to increase
   Effective 11/01/06


South Texas Laboratory (STL) will be changing the F40-11036 specimen submission form
   Effective 09/01/06


Specimen submission forms to include the new National Provider Identifier (NPI)
   Effective 04/05/06


Proposed amendments to existing rules concerning Newborn Screening (NBS)
   Effective 03/15/06


New specimen acceptance criteria for Mycobacteria cultures
   Effective 01/02/06


New specimen acceptance criteria for Hemolytic Disease of the Newborn (HDN) testing
   Effective 07/15/05


New specimen acceptance criteria for RPR testing
   Effective 07/22/05


Acceptance/Rejection Criteria for Prenatal Triple Screen specimens
   Effective 07/1/05


Shipping Changes for Cholesterol, Lipid profile, and Glucose Specimens
   Effective 07/15/05


Stakeholder feedback requested on impact of increasing maximum cap on Lab fees
   Effective 06/03/05


Acceptance/Rejection Criteria for CSF specimen testing
   Effective 06/20/05


Shipping Changes for Cholesterol, Lipid profile, and Glucose Specimens
   Effective 06/15/05


New specimen submission forms: G-1B, G-1C, G-2A, & G-2B
   Effective 06/01/05


Acceptance/Rejection Criteria for Clinical Chemistry Testing
   Effective 03/15/05


"Date of Collection" Required on all Specimen Submission Forms
   Effective 02/14/05 


"Payor Source" Billing Changes
   Effective 02/01/05


Acceptance/rejection guidelines for the culture of mycobacteria from blood specimens
   Effective 10/15/04


Specimen acceptance/rejection guidelines for selected tests
   Effective 10/07/04


Note: External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These sites may also not be accessible to people with disabilities.

Last updated November 14, 2017