Newborn Screening Notices

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Intermittent Outages of NBS Web Application (Neometrics)


Due to ongoing campus maintenance, the Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics) may be intermittently unavailable throughout the day on Saturday, November 19, 2022.

Contact DSHS Laboratory:
Phone: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7318 or Locally: 512-776-7318
Email: labinfo@dshs.texas.gov 
Email Microbiology: Lab.Microbiology@dshs.texas.gov
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
Email Clinical Chemistry: ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov

Posted November 18, 2022



DSHS Austin Laboratory Thanksgiving Holiday Closure Reminder

The DSHS Austin Laboratory will be closed, and no testing will occur on Thursday, 11/24/2022 and Friday, 11/25/2022, except Newborn Screening and Rabies testing. See below for more details on selected testing. 
Please note the laboratory building will be undergoing renovations during the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday period. An alternate, temporary specimen drop off point will be in operation for all specimens during this time. A map to the temporary drop off point can be found here. Please refer to the Laboratory Renovations FAQs for more details.

Newborn Screening (NBS)

  • The Newborn Screening Laboratory will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and will resume testing on Friday, 11/25/2022.
  • 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 soon as possible. 
  • DSHS recommends shipping specimens using an overnight or trackable service like USPS priority mail, FedEx, and UPS.

Clinical Chemistry

  • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, and lipid/cholesterol specimens must be received by Wednesday, 11/23/2022 to complete testing before the holiday
  • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid profile, glucose, or creatinine specimens on Fridays or on the day before a state-observed holiday.

Microbiology

  • Rabies Specimens:
    • Rabies specimens may be hand delivered to the pharmacy building during renovations. Specimens received after 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 11/23/2022 will be tested Friday, 11/25/2022. Submitters will be notified of positive results by 12:00pm. All other results will be available Monday 11/28/2022.
    • Emergency testing will be available Friday, 11/25/2022 and Saturday, 11/26/2022 only by prior arrangement with Rabies testing staff (call: 512-776-7595). Specimen receipt must be guaranteed by 8:00 a.m. the morning of testing. Preliminary results will be called out as soon as emergency testing is completed. Final results will be available Monday 11/28/2022.
    • All other specimens will be tested on Monday, 11/28/2022, and results will be available by 5:00 p.m.
  • Tuberculosis (TB) Specimens: 
    • Do not ship specimens for delivery between Wednesday, 11/23/2022 and Friday, 11/25/2022. Keep specimens in refrigerated storage until shipment
    • Ensure critical AFB Smear and NAA for M. tuberculosis specimens are delivered by 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 11/23/2022.
    • Call 512-776-7342 before 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 11/23/2022 for expedited test requests.
  • Candida auris Swab Specimens: 
    • Do not collect or ship swabs from Tuesday, 11/23/2022 to Thursday, 11/25/2022. Swabs collected after this date must be refrigerated and shipped on cold packs.  
      • Note: Specimens must be received by the Minnesota (back up) laboratory within four days of collection.   
  • Bacteriology Water Samples:
    • Water samples will not be accepted at DSHS Laboratory from Wednesday, 11/23/2022 to Friday, 11/25/2022.
  • All Other Microbiology Specimens or Samples:
    • Do not ship specimens for delivery between Thursday, 11/24/2022 and Saturday, 11/26/2022. Store specimens collected during this time at an appropriate temperature, e.g. -70°C, or below for clinical virology samples.
    • No tests will be performed from Thursday, 11/24/2022 to Sunday, 11/27/2022. 

Ordering Laboratory Supplies: 

Newborn Screening Medicaid/Paid Card Order Requests

  • Priority overnight shipping requests received on 11/23/2022 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight.
  • All requests received before noon on 11/24/2022 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received after noon on 11/24/2022 through 11/28/2022 will be sent Monday, 11/29/2022.

Texas Health Steps/PKU/TB/HIV/Courier Supply Order Requests

  • All requests received on 11/23/2022 will be audited, issued, and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received before 9:00 a.m. on 11/24/2022 will be audited, issued, and shipped via FedEx Ground Wednesday afternoon
  • Requests received after 9:00 a.m. on 11/24/2022 through 11/28/2022 will be audited, issued, and shipped on Monday 11/29/2022 via FedEx Ground.

***Per FedEx website, FedEx Ground will be closed Thursday 11/24/2022 but will deliver packages Friday 11/25/2022.***

Questions? 
Newborn Screening General Inquiries: (512) 776-7333
Microbiology General Inquiries: (512) 776-7599
Clinical Chemistry General Inquiries: (512) 776-6236
Newborn Screening:  NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
Clinical Chemistry:    ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov
Microbiology Branch:    Lab.Microbiology@dshs.texas.gov
Specimen Submission:  LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov

Container Preparation:  ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted November 02, 2022


DSHS Laboratory Services Section – Notice to Public


Beginning October 28, 2022, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory in Austin, Texas will undergo critical building updates and repairs which will require a brief, full building closure.  This work will ensure the Laboratory can maintain future operations. The building renovation project is expected to continue through late November.

At this time, we do not anticipate any change in processes for our submitters. 

Testing services will continue. Due to the type of building work, some testing services will be temporarily delayed. We are working to finalize the dates of the temporary closure and other details. 

For more information, please visit the DSHS Laboratory webpage. 

Laboratory Renovation information (https://dshs.texas.gov/lab/Lab-Renovation/2022-Laboratory-Renovation)

Posted October 27, 2022


TX 20- Newborn Screening Kits Are Expiring

Newborn Screening kits with a serial number beginning with

20 (TX 20-XXXXXXX) EXPIRE on December 31, 2022.


Check any current stock and use TX 20 kits first to collect specimens before they expire.
Specimens collected on TX 20 kits after December 31, 2022, will be UNSATISFACTORY for testing and must be recollected.

Questions / Comments
888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
dshs.texas.gov/lab/newbornscreening.shtm

Posted October 11, 2022


Changes to the Texas DSHS Laboratory Fee for Newborn Screening

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory Services Section (LSS) is in the process of revising laboratory testing and fees for laboratory services to meet business needs. These revisions are proposed to take effect in Spring 2023. The proposed fee changes would be posted to the DSHS website 90 days in advance of the effective date. We are providing this notification to newborn screening submitters early to ensure adequate time to negotiate contracts with insurance companies that would include the increased fee amount.

There is a proposed fee increase for the NBS test:
Effective Spring 2023, it is proposed that the cost of PAID newborn screening (NBS) kits would be raised by approximately $3.00 per kit for a new total cost of $66.73 per kit.  

The proposed increase would offset increased testing costs, such as changes in sample volume, laboratory supplies, and various procedural/technological changes that allow Texas to keep pace with public health lab testing standards.  

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

NBS questions or comments:
1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or for local calls 512-776-7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted September 22, 2022



Attention Newborn Screening Submitters


The NCAA Policy on requiring sickle cell test results has changed as of August 1, 2022.
With this change, there has been an increase in requests for Newborn Screening results.

As a Healthcare Provider you can do one of the following:

  • Contact DSHS Laboratory Reporting Department at 512-776-7578, on behalf of the patient, to request their Newborn Screening report. This is the fastest and most efficient way for the student-athlete to obtain their sickle cell results.
  • Or Fax the request to DSHS Laboratory at 512-776-7533.
  • Or Direct the student-athlete to the DSHS webpage, “How Patients Can Request Copies of Test Results”, 
    https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/patientresults.aspx.  The athlete will need to download the Authorization to Release Laboratory Results Form.  All fields are required.  They will need to fax, mail, or securely email the completed Authorization to Release Laboratory Results Form and a copy of their current and valid government-issued photo ID to DSHS Laboratory.
    • DSHS Lab Reporting Department fax number: 512-776-7533
    • DSHS Laboratory Reporting Group, MC 1947
      P.O. Box 149347
      Austin, TX 78714-9347
    • Email: Labinfo@dshs.texas.gov

For questions or comments:
Call toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or for local calls 512-776-7333
Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted August 10, 2022 


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints – June 2022

How To Update Demographic Information On The Newborn Screening 


AS A BEST PRACTICE: have parents review all demographic information prior to collection of the blood on the filter paper.

Why is it important not to attach a demographic form from one kit to the filter paper part of another kit?

Each Newborn Screening Kit has a unique serial number that is printed on both the demographic form and the filter paper. If a demographic form from one kit is used with the filter paper from another, there will be a delay in testing and the specimen may be rejected for testing. To avoid a delay in testing or specimen rejection, contact the DSHS Laboratory at the time of any accidents. Small demographic errors can be fixed on the original demographic form by making a single line through the incorrect information, writing the correct information above or adjacent to the error, and initialing and dating near the correct information.   
Upon receipt of a shipment of newborn screening cards, inspect to verify no manufacturing errors with the kits. If there are concerns on any kits prior to collection, contact the DSHS Newborn Screening Laboratory at (512) 776-7333. 

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 6-2022  for:

-Examples of Newborn Screening Kit 
-Laboratory Contact Information
-Tips on how to avoid this rejection
-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection

Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions? 
1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted July 6, 2022 


Newborn Screening Advisory Committee Meeting – July 8, 2022


The next meeting of the Newborn Screening Advisory Committee is scheduled for Friday, July 8, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. View the agenda.

The public may attend the meeting in person at the Texas Department of State Health Services, Robert Bernstein Building, Room K-100, 1st Floor, 1100 West 49th Street, Austin, TX 78756. No reservations are required and there is no cost to attend. The meeting also will be webcast on the above day and time at https://texashhsmeetings.org/HHSWebcast.

  For questions, email NewbornAdvisory@dshs.texas.gov or call 512-776-3386.

Posted July 5, 2022 


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints- May 2022
Correctly Recording the Birth weight

Algorithms for some Newborn Screening tests use birth weight to determine if values fall out of normal range. Different cut-off values are determined for newborns with low birth weight, which is defined as a wight at birth of less than 2500 grams.


Why is it important to record birth weight in grams?


The Texas Department of State Health Services Newborn Screening laboratory evaluates test results based on the birthweight measured in grams. The birth weight number that is written on the collection form is directly entered into the DSHS Newborn Screening data system. If the weight is wrong or not in grams (for example, recorded in pounds, ounces, or kilograms), the test results may not be correctly evaluated. Accurate birth weights recorded in grams are necessary for correct interpretation of test results.

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 5-2022  for:


-Examples of how to complete birth weight in demographics
-Weight conversion chart
-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection

Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions? 
1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted May 18, 2022 


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints - April 2022 Specimen Too Old To Test Upon Receipt

  In 2021, over 2,000 newborn screening specimens were rejected because specimens were received at the laboratory too old to test.


Why is it important for specimens to arrive at the DSHS laboratory within thirteen days of specimen collection?

The quick delivery of specimens to the testing laboratory is imperative. It is important that submitting facilities are mindful of the time between collection and shipment for the following reasons:

  • Finding and treating these disorders early can prevent serious complications, such as growth problems, developmental delays, deafness, blindness, intellectual disabilities, seizures, and sudden or early death.  Some conditions may manifest with acute symptoms in the first days of life and require immediate treatment to reduce risk of morbidity and mortality.
  • Based on CLIA and the equipment manufacturer's guidelines, the DSHS NBS Laboratory established a timeframe for specimen stability from the date of specimen collection.
  • Specimens not received at the DSHS Laboratory within 13 days of collection will be unsatisfactory for testing and require a recollection.

View the National Newborn Screening Timeliness Goals here: https://www.hrsa.gov/advisory-committees/heritable-disorders/newborn-screening-timeliness.html

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 4-2022 for:

-Examples of demographic forms

-Tips on how to avoid this rejection

-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection

 

Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions?

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov


Posted March 15, 2022



Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints - March 2022

Collect the First Newborn Screen Before a Transfusion - Even if the Newborn is Not 24 Hours Old

The goal of the Texas Newborn Screening Program is to identify affected babies before symptoms arise. This way they can receive appropriate treatment and lead productive and healthy lives. Transfused blood and blood products may cause inaccurate newborn screening results.

Why is it important to collect the first Newborn Screen before a transfusion?

Tests on the Newborn Screening panel can be affected by many different factors, including transfusions. Tests that will be affected by transfusions include hemoglobinopathies, galactosemia, and DNA analysis testing. The Newborn Screening Cards have a place in the demographic section to note if the specimen was collected on a newborn who had already been transfused. Transfusions can include more than red blood cells, and any kind of transfusion can impact testing. Including transfusion status information allows the newborn screening lab to accurately evaluate and report results.

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 3-2022 for:

-Sample of Status on the Newborn Screening Demographics form

-Guide to collection times on newborns who have been transfused

-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection

 

Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions? 

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted March 15, 2022


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints - February 2022
Collect the Second Newborn Screen after 168 hours of life (7 days)


The goal of the Texas Newborn Screening Program is to identify affected babies before symptoms arise. This way they can receive appropriate treatment and lead productive and healthy lives.  Collection and submission of both first and second screens improves DSHS’ ability to identify newborns who would have otherwise gone undetected.


Why is it important to collect the routine second Newborn Screen after 168 hours of life?

The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends collection of the routine second newborn screening specimen between 7 to 14 days of age. However, specimens collected on the 7th day of life can actually be less than 7 days (i.e. less than 168 hours) if the time of collection is prior to the time of birth 7 days earlier (e.g. 6 days and 20 hours). Some DSHS screening algorithms are based on age in hours, and therefore second screens collected prior to 168 hours may have an increased risk to have false negative results. It is recommended that the routine second screen on a newborn be collected after 168 hours of life. 
Note:  When collecting a non-routine second screen, it is imperative that the additional screen be collected within the time frame advised by Clinical Care Coordination staff or the newborn screening result report.

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 2-2022 for:

-Examples of completed demographics
-Tips for ensuring accurate test results
-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection

Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions? 
1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted February 10, 2022


2022 Newborn Screening Laboratory Closure 


  • Due to inclement weather the Texas Newborn Screening Laboratory will be closed for testing on Friday February 4, 2022.
  • Testing is expected to resume on Saturday February 5, 2022, dependent on weather conditions.
  • Please continue to ship all samples per regular guidelines. DO NOT batch specimens for bulk shipping.
  • Result reporting including out-of-range results will be delayed but completed ASAP.
  • DSHS Clinical Care Coordination will provide follow-up outreach services as soon as results are available.

Providers should continue to:

  • If a child is showing signs or symptoms of a possible critical newborn screened condition, 
    • Note that newborn screening results may not be available.
    • Initiate diagnostic work-up or treatment as needed. 
    • Contact Newborn Screening Clinical Care Coordination immediately for assistance with follow-up recommendations and contact information for clinical referral specialists in your area.

  • Expedite follow-up activities on out-of-range results as much 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.


  • Collect and dry newborn screens within the appropriate timeframes.
    • 1st newborn screen - between 24 - 48 hours of age, or before hospital discharge. 
    • 2nd newborn screen - 7-14 days of age.
  • Ship specimens through normal delivery method as soon as possible.
    • Courier services are running as road conditions allow; however, expect delays due to the weather. Check your courier for local service alerts.
    • Where courier services are delayed, store the specimens at room temperature in a dry location. 
    • Do not put specimens in air-tight sealed containers.

While navigating inclement weather, the DSHS Newborn Screening Program appreciates the dedication and commitment of healthcare providers to ensure the best possible outcomes for Texas newborns. 

Questions? 

Newborn Screening Laboratory:
1 (888) 963-7111 ext. 7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 
Emergency Contact: 
512-689-9996

Clinical Care Coordination Emergency Contact:
512-939-1216

Newborn@dshs.texas.gov 


Posted February 04, 2022


2022 Newborn Screening Laboratory Closure 

  • Due to inclement weather the Texas Newborn Screening Laboratory will be closed for testing on Thursday February 3, 2022.
  • Testing is expected to resume on Friday February 4, 2022, dependent on weather conditions.
  • Please continue to ship all samples per regular guidelines. 
  • Result reporting including out-of-range results will be delayed but completed ASAP.
  • DSHS Clinical Care Coordination will provide follow-up outreach services as soon as results are available.

Providers should continue to:

  • If a child is showing signs or symptoms of a possible critical newborn screened condition, 
    • Note that newborn screening results may not be available.
    • Initiate diagnostic work-up or treatment as needed. 
    • Contact Newborn Screening Clinical Care Coordination immediately for assistance with follow-up recommendations and contact information for clinical referral specialists in your area.

  • Expedite follow-up activities on out-of-range results as much 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.

  • Collect and dry newborn screens within the appropriate timeframes.
    • 1st newborn screen - between 24 - 48 hours of age, or before hospital discharge. 
    • 2nd newborn screen – 7-14 days of age.

  • Ship specimens through normal delivery method as soon as possible.
    • Courier services are expected to run as usual; however, they may experience delays due to the weather. Check your courier for local service alerts.
    • Where courier services are delayed, store the specimens at room temperature in a dry location.
    • Do not put specimens in air-tight sealed containers.

While navigating inclement weather, the DSHS Newborn Screening Program appreciates the dedication and commitment of healthcare providers to ensure the best possible outcomes for Texas newborns. 

Questions? 

Newborn Screening Laboratory:
1 (888) 963-7111 ext. 7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 
Emergency Contact: 
512-689-9996

Clinical Care Coordination Emergency Contact:
512-939-1216
Newborn@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted February 02, 2022


Possible DSHS Laboratory Closure Due to Inclement Weather


Inclement weather in Austin and other parts of Texas may cause a delay of testing at the Department of State Health Services Laboratory.


  • Due to expected inclement weather in the Austin area, the DSHS Laboratory may be closed on Thursday February 3, 2022.
  • Consider delaying collection of samples with short acceptance windows (e.g. must be tested within 24-48 hours).  This does NOT apply to newborn screening samples or most tests at the DSHS Laboratory.  
  • Please continue to ship all samples per regular guidelines. 
  • Courier services are expected to run as usual; however, they may experience delays due to the weather. Check your courier for local service alerts
  • All samples will be processed as soon as possible after resumption of normal operations.  However, samples received outside of their acceptability window will be unsatisfactory for testing.
  • The laboratory will work at maximum capacity to resolve any specimen backlog.
  • Samples received before or during the laboratory closure may not be reported within the expected turnaround time.

The DSHS Austin Laboratory appreciates the dedication and commitment of healthcare providers to keep Texans healthy. 

Contact DSHS Laboratory:
Phone: 1 (888) 963-7111 ext. 7318 or Locally: 512-776-7318
Email: labinfo@dshs.texas.gov 
Email Microbiology: Lab.Microbiology@dshs.texas.gov
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Email Clinical Chemistry: ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov

Posted February 02, 2022


CHECK THE EXPIRATION DATE ON NEWBORN SCREENING KITS


Newborn Screening (NBS) kits beginning with serial number 19 (19-XXXXXXX), EXPIRED on January 31, 2022.


Do Not Use ‘19’ kits to collect NBS specimens. 

Specimens collected on ‘19’ kits after January 31, 2022 will be UNSATISFACTORY.


To Exchange NBS4 (Insurance/Self-Pay) Kits:

  • Complete the G-6D “Newborn Screening Supplies” order form
  • Count the number of remaining expired NBS4 kits 
  • Write the number of expired NBS4 kits to exchange in the “Quantity Requested” box
  • Write “Exchange” in the Billing – Purchase Order Number box
  • Ship the completed form and expired NBS4 kits to the Container Preparation Group:

Courier Delivery Address (FedEx, UPS, or other)
DSHS – Laboratory Services Section
Container Preparation Group
1100 W. 49th St.

Austin, TX 78756-3199


USPS Address (regular mail service)
DSHS – Laboratory Services Section, MC 1947
Container Preparation Group
PO Box 149341
Austin, TX 78714-9341


NOTE: Do NOT return expired NBS3 (Medicaid/Charity Care/CHIP) kits. Dispose of them appropriately. 

  • The shipping cost is the responsibility of the submitter
  • Exchanges are accepted up to 3 months after the kit expiration date (e.g. kits expired on January 31, 2022 need to be received by DSHS on or before April 30, 2022) 
  • Allow DSHS five (5) business days from receipt of exchange request to process the request 

To order additional new kits:

  • Complete a second G-6D “Newborn Screening Supplies” order form
  • Send the completed form to the Container Preparation Group
    NOTE: Orders for additional kits will not be processed from the same G-6D form as the request for exchange of expired kits. Only the exchange will be processed. 

Additional Information:
Review NBS4 (Insurance/Self-Pay) Kit Exchange of Expired Kits.

Questions / Comments
888-963-7111 ext. 7661 or 512-776-7661
ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted January 31, 2022


Importance of Reporting Newborn Screening Clinical Results to the Texas Newborn Screening Program

Healthcare providers are required to report the outcome of the clinical evaluation of a baby with an out-of-range newborn screen including confirmed diagnoses and cleared babies to the DSHS Clinical Care Coordination Unit. Reporting this information is important to help ensure appropriate linkage to care and follow-up for each baby. 

In the rare circumstance that a baby/child is diagnosed with a condition on the Texas newborn screening panel that was not identified by newborn screening (i.e. it was a missed case), it is required to report this to the DSHS Clinical Care Coordination staff.

Receiving diagnostic information in a timely manner allows DSHS to review and improve newborn screening for all babies and to reduce both false positives and missed cases in the future. 

We thank you for your partnership in providing the best outcomes possible for the newborn screened population.

Texas Administrative Code 25.1.37 D Rule 37.58 provides more information about the reporting requirement.


To report confirmed, cleared or missed cases please contact:

Newborn Screening Unit

Phone: 512-776-3957

Fax: 512-776-7450

Toll-free: 800-252-8023, ext 3957 

Newborn@dshs.texas.gov

Posted January 28, 2022


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints- January 2022

Collect the First Newborn Screen within the 24 to 48-hour time range

 

The Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children Timeliness Goals state that ‘Initial NBS specimens should be collected in the appropriate time frame for the newborn’s condition but no later than 48 hours after birth’.

Why is it important to collect the first Newborn Screen after 24 hours of life?

The Texas Department of State Health Services Newborn Screening Laboratory’s recommendation for collection of the first newborn screening specimen is within 24 to 48 hours of birth. For the accurate interpretation of test results, timing of blood spot collection is very important. DSHS testing algorithms are determined down to the minute. Specimens collected outside of the 24 to 48-hour window may have different cut off values than those collected within the ideal time frame.

There are circumstances for collection before the 24 hours, like before transfusion. For guidelines on specimen collection in special circumstances please visit https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/nbsSpecialC.shtm.

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 1-2022 for:

-Examples of completed demographics

-Conversion to Military Time reference chart

-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection

 

Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions?

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted January 18, 2022



Newborn Screening – Medicaid vs. PAID Kits

Choosing the Correct Kit for Specimen Collection

There are two types of newborn screening kits: 

  • Use the Insurance/Self-Pay Test Kit (form # NBS4) for newborns who are covered under a private insurance plan or for newborn screenings that are covered under a private insurance plan or will be paid for out of pocket.
  • Use the Medicaid/CHIP/Charity Test Kit (form # NBS3) ONLY for newborns with Medicaid eligible mothers, newborns covered by CHIP, or newborns who have absolutely no other payment option as required in Texas Administrative Code, Title 25 Section 37.55.  

Tips for choosing and using the correct kit

  • Prior to specimen collection, verify the payor or insurance on file for the newborn’s hospital services.
  • Attach the appropriate kit type to the newborn’s chart or medical record so it is available for staff who will collect the specimen.
  • If the newborn does not have insurance and the mother is covered under Medicaid, collect the specimen on the NBS3 (Medicaid/CHIP/Charity) kit.
  • If unsure of newborn’s insurance or Medicaid status, collect the specimen on the NBS4 (Insurance/Self-Pay) kit. DSHS will credit the facility’s account for the cost of the kit if a Medicaid eligible newborn has a specimen collected on a NBS4 kit. 

What if a Newborn Screen was drawn on the wrong kit?


If a specimen was collected on an Insurance/Self-Pay kit but it should have been Medicaid/CHIP/Charity: 

  • Please submit the specimen on the kit collected. DO NOT ALTER THE KIT IN ANY WAY. DSHS performs checks to identify Medicaid-eligible specimens collected on Insurance/Self-Pay kits. If a Medicaid-eligible patient has a specimen collected on an Insurance/Self-Pay kit, the facility’s account will be credited for the cost of the kit.  The reimbursement process takes 6 - 9 months. 

If a specimen was collected on a Medicaid/CHIP/Charity kit, but it should have been Insurance/Self Pay: 

  • Please submit the specimen. Note on the test kit that the specimen should have been collected on an Insurance/Self-Pay kit. DSHS will bill the facility for the cost of the kit. 

Contact the Newborn Screening Laboratory:
Phone: 1 (888) 963-7111 ext. 7333 or Locally: 512-776-7333
Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted January 07, 2022



2022 Is Here

Incorrect dates DELAY specimen testing and can cause a specimen to be UNSATISFACTORY for testing.

To Avoid Delays:

  • Ensure dates (including year) are complete and accurate. 
  • Assign staff to double check that all specimen information is:
    • Complete
    • Accurate
    • Legible
  • Respond to DSHS staff requests for clarifying information.
  • Specimens with information not received by 1:00 p.m. the next business day will be deemed unsatisfactory for testing.

     2022 is Coming(1)

                                                                            

For questions or comments:        

Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or for local calls 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.state.tx.us

Posted December 31, 2021


Laboratory Christmas and New Year Holiday Closure Reminders


The DSHS Austin Laboratory will be closed Friday 12/24/2021Saturday 12/25/2021, and Saturday 01/01/2022. Testing will not be performed on these days, with limited exceptions; the exceptions being Newborn Screening, Rabies, and COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) PCR testing, which WILL be performed Friday 12/24/2021. The Rabies Laboratory will be open 01/01/2022 for emergency testing. 

Please Note: Specimen deliveries will NOT be accepted on Saturday, 12/25/2021 or Saturday, 01/01/2022. The Laboratory is not open on Sundays.

See below for specific details.

All submitters are responsible for the timely and appropriate shipping of specimens to the DSHS Laboratory.

Newborn Screening (NBS) Laboratory 

  • The NBS Laboratory will be closed Saturday, 12/25/2021 and Saturday, 1/1/2022; testing will resume on the Monday after each holiday. 
  • DO NOT delay collection or shipment of newborn screening specimens to the laboratory.
  • Ship dried specimens within 24 hours of collection. If mail or courier services are unavailable, ship as soon as possible. 
    • DSHS recommends shipping specimens using an overnight or trackable service like USPS Priority Mail, FedEx, UPS, etc.  

Clinical Chemistry (Texas Health Steps) Laboratory

  • The Clinical Chemistry Laboratory will be closed Friday 12/24/2021, Saturday 12/25/2021, and Saturday 1/1/2022.
  • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid panel, cholesterol, and creatinine specimens must be received by Thursday, 12/23/2021, to complete testing prior to the Christmas holiday
  • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid panel, glucose, or creatinine specimens for delivery to the laboratory on or between Thursday, 12/23/2021, and Sunday, 12/26/2021.

Microbiology Testing Notices

Before shipping, please ensure your specimen will arrive on a day the Laboratory is open.

Rabies Testing:
Note: Ship rabies specimens via Greyhound Bus.

  • The Rabies Laboratory will be open Friday, 12/24/2021, and Saturday, 01/01/2022 for emergency testing. 
  • To arrange emergency testing, contact laboratory personnel at (512) 776-7595.
  • Specimens received before 8:00 AM Thursday, 12/23/2021, will be tested the same day.
    • Results will be available by 5:00 PM the same day.  
  • Specimens received 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM Thursday, 12/23/2021, will be tested on Friday, 12/24/2021; 
    • Preliminary results will be available by 12:00 PM Friday, 12/24/2021, if requested. 
  • All other specimens will be tested on Monday, 12/27/2021.
  • Specimens received before 8:00 AM Friday, 12/31/2021, will be tested on Friday, 12/31/2021. 
    • Results will be available by 5:00 PM the same day. 
  • Specimens received 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM Friday, 12/31/2021, will be tested on Saturday, 01/01/2022;
    • Preliminary results will be available by 12:00 PM Saturday, 01/01/2022, if requested. 
  • All other specimens will be tested on Monday, 01/03/2022.
  • Specimen receipt by 8:00 AM must be guaranteed to ensure same-day testing. 

COVID-19 Testing:

  • DO NOT ship specimens for delivery between Friday, 12/24/2021 and Sunday, 12/26/2021.
  • DO NOT ship specimens for delivery between Friday, 12/31/2021 and Sunday, 01/02/2022.

Note: Pending approval, priority COVID specimens delivered when the Laboratory is open can be tested. Pre-arrangement of testing is required.

All Other Microbiology/Bacteriological Testing:

  • Human Bacteriology, Molecular Detection, and Whole Genome Sequencing samples will NOT be accepted or tested on: 
    • Friday, 12/24/2021
    • Friday, 12/31/2021
  • Water samples will NOT be accepted for testing on:
    • Thursday, 12/23/2021
    • Friday, 12/31/2021
  • Serology specimens will NOT be accepted on Friday, 12/24/2021. 
  • To receive expedited Mycobacterium tuberculosis AFB Smear and NAA test results before the Christmas holiday, submitters MUST:
    • ensure specimens are delivered to the laboratory by 8:00 AM Thursday, 12/23/2021; 
    • otherwise, refrigerate collected specimens and ship for delivery on Tuesday, 12/28/2021.  
      Note: Contact laboratory personnel at (512) 776-7342 for expedited test requests.

Newborn Screening Medicaid/Paid Card Order Requests

  • Priority overnight shipping requests received 12/22/2021 and 12/29/2021 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight.
    • All requests received before 12:00 PM Thursday, 12/23/2021, and Thursday, 12/30/2021, will be processed and shipped via FedEx Ground
    • Requests received between 12:00 PM Thursday, 12/23/2021, and Sunday, 12/26/2021, and Thursday, 12/30/2021, and Sunday, 01/02/2022 will be sent the Monday after each holiday.
  • Beginning Saturday 01/01/2022, ALL requests need to be placed using the updated order request form, which reflects the new price for NBS 4, paid cards.

Texas Health Steps/Newborn Screening/TB/HIV/Courier Supply Order Requests

  • All requests received on 12/22/2021 will be audited, issued and shipped via FedEx Ground.
    • Requests received prior to 9:00 AM on 12/23/2021 will be shipped Thursday afternoon.
    • Requests received after 9:00 AM on 12/23/2021 will be shipped on Monday, 12/27/2021.
  • All requests received on 12/30/2021 will be audited, issued and shipped via FedEx Ground.
    • Requests received prior to 9:00 AM on 12/31/2021 will be shipped Friday afternoon.
    • Requests received after 9:00 AM on 12/31/2021 will be shipped on Monday 1/3/2022.

***Per FedEx website FedEx Ground will be closed 12/25/2021, 12/26/2021, 1/1/2022 and 1/2/2022***
***Per FedEx website FedEx Express will have limited deliveries per area 12/24/2021 & 12/31/2021***

Questions? Contact the Texas DSHS Laboratory:
Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7318 or for local calls 512-776-7318
Main Email: LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov
NBS Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
Clinical Chemistry Email: ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov
Container Preparation: ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov 
Microbiology Email: Lab.Microbiology@dshs.texas.gov

Posted December 17, 2021


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints- December 2021

Missing Date of Birth or Collection

 

In 2020, over 95 newborn screening specimens were rejected because the date of collection was missing from the demographic form. All of these specimens required a recollection and caused critical delays to testing.

Why is a specimen with missing demographic information rejected?

In the laboratory, specimens are categorized based on the baby’s age at the time of specimen collection. For this reason, date of birth and date of collection must be recorded accurately. When the information is missing, testing may be delayed. Specimens that are missing date of collection may be unsatisfactory for testing.

Accurate and complete demographic information is necessary for the timely newborn identification and provider contact if there is an abnormal result.

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 6-2021 for:

-Examples of this type of rejection

-Tips on how to avoid this rejection

-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection

 

Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions?

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted December 9, 2021


Attention Newborn Screening Submitters


Delays in shipping services seen around the holidays can increase the risk of specimens being too old to test upon receipt. 

Specimens that are not received by the DSHS Laboratory within 13 days of collection will be UNSATISFACTORY for testing.

TIPS TO AVOID THIS TYPE OF REJECTION:

  • Ship dried specimens as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours. Let specimens dry in the horizontal position, on a flat non-porous surface, for 3 to 4 hours before packing.
  • National recommendations state that first screen specimens should arrive at the DSHS Laboratory within 24 hours after collection.
  • Keep in mind that courier and mail services may have delays during the holidays.
  • DO NOT hold specimens for bulk mailing or shipping. 
  • Ensure all specimens have the correct name, date of birth, and date of collection before shipping. Incorrect or incomplete demographic information can lead to testing delays or rejection.
  • To avoid delays, assign an individual to double check all newborn screening specimens to ensure spot quality is acceptable and all demographic information is complete before shipment
  • Shipping specimens by USPS Priority or Express Mail, UPS Next Day Air, FedEx Overnight, or other types of next day shipping, can help avoid delays.


For questions or comments:
Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or for local calls 512-776-7333
Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted December 1, 2021


2022 Will Soon Be Here


Incorrect dates DELAY specimen testing and can cause a specimen to be UNSATISFACTORY for testing.

To Avoid Delays:

  • Ensure dates (including year) are complete and accurate. 
  • Assign staff to double check that all specimen information is:
    • Complete
    • Accurate
    • Legible
  • Respond to DSHS requests for clarifying information. 
  • Specimens with information not received by 1:00 p.m. the next business day will be deemed unsatisfactory for testing. 

      2022 is Coming(1)


For questions or comments:
Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or for local calls 512-776-7333
Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.state.tx.us

Posted November 30, 2021


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints
Spot Focus on Rejection when Blood Did Not Completely Fill Specimen Circles


In 2020, over 250 newborn screening specimens were rejected because the blood did not completely fill the specimen circles. All of these specimens required a recollection and caused critical delays to testing.

Why will a specimen that did not completely fill the circles be unsatisfactory for testing?


When all circles are not filled, there will not be enough blood for the laboratory to punch samples with automated equipment. Without a sufficient amount of blood, the laboratory will be unable to complete all tests; therefore, these specimens will be unsatisfactory for testing. 

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 5-2021 for:


-Example of this type of rejection
-Tips on how to avoid this rejection
-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection

Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions
1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted November 19, 2021


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints

Spot Focus on Rejection when Filter Paper is Scratched From The Possible Use of Capillary Tubes

 

In 2020, over 180 newborn screening specimens were rejected because the filter paper was scratched from the possible use of capillary tubes. All of these specimens required a recollection and caused critical delays to testing.

Why is a specimen with filter paper that is scratched from the possible use of capillary tubes rejected?

The filter paper is designed to hold a specific amount of blood. When the filter paper has been scratched, there may be an insufficient amount of blood for proper testing. An insufficient amount of blood may cause test results to be inaccurate; therefore, these specimens will be unsatisfactory for testing.

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 4-2021 for:

-Examples of this type of rejection

-Tips on how to avoid this rejection

-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection


Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions? 

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted November 17, 2021


TX 19 Newborn Screening Kits Are Expiring


Newborn Screening kits with a serial number beginning with 19 (TX 19-XXXXXXX) EXPIRE on January 31, 2022.


Check any current stock and use TX 19 kits first to collect specimens before they expire. 


Specimens collected on TX 19 kits after January 31, 2022 will be UNSATISFACTORY for testing and must be recollected.


Questions / Comments
888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
dshs.texas.gov/lab/newbornscreening.shtm

Posted November 12, 2021


DSHS Austin Laboratory Thanksgiving Holiday Closure Reminders


The DSHS Austin Laboratory will be closed and no testing will be performed on Thursday, 11/25/2021 and Friday, 11/26/2021 except Newborn Screening and Rabies testing. See below for more details on selected testing.

Newborn Screening (NBS)

  • The Newborn Screening Laboratory will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and will resume testing on Friday, 11/26/2021.
  • 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 soon as possible. 
  • DSHS recommends shipping specimens using an overnight or trackable service like USPS priority mail, FedEx, and UPS.  


Clinical Chemistry

  • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid/cholesterol and creatinine specimens must be received by Wednesday, 11/24/2021 to complete testing before the holiday.
  • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid profile, glucose, or creatinine specimens on Fridays or on the day before a state-observed holiday.


Microbiology

  • Rabies:
    • Ship rabies specimens via Greyhound Bus. Specimens received after 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 11/24/2021 will be tested Friday, 11/26/2021. Positive results will be called out by noon Friday. All other results will be available Monday 11/29/21.
    • Emergency testing is available on Friday, 11/26/2021 and Saturday, 11/27/2021 by arrangement with laboratory personnel (512-776-7595). Specimen receipt must be guaranteed by 8:00 a.m. the morning of testing. Preliminary results will be called out as soon as emergency testing is completed. Final results will be available Monday 11/29/21.
    • All other specimens will be tested on Monday, 11/29/2021 and results will be available by 5:00 p.m.

  • COVID-19:
    • Upon approval, priority COVID-19 specimens will be tested on Friday, 11/26/2021 or Saturday, 11/27/2021. Please contact your Regional and/or Local Health Department to initiate the testing approval process.  
  • Mycobacteriology/Mycology Laboratory (TB): 
    • Do not ship specimens Wednesday, 11/24/2021 to Friday, 11/26/2021.  Keep specimens in refrigerated storage until shipment.
    • Ensure critical AFB Smear and NAA for M. tuberculosis specimens are delivered by 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 11/24/2021.
    • Call 512-776-7342 for expedited test requests before 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 11/24/2021.
  • Candida auris Swabs
    • Do not collect or ship swabs from Tuesday, 11/23/2021 to Thursday, 11/25/2021.  Swabs collected after this date must be refrigerated and shipped on cold pack and received in the laboratory within 4 days after collection.
  • Bacteriology Water Samples
    • No shipment will be accepted from Wednesday, 11/24/2021 to Friday, 11/26/2021.
  • All Other Microbiology Samples:
    • Do not ship specimens Wednesday, 11/24/2021 to Saturday, 11/27/2021.  Store specimens collected during this time at appropriate temperature, e.g. -70°C or below for clinical virology samples. 
    • No tests will be performed from Thursday, 11/25/2021 to Sunday, 11/28/2021.  


Order for Laboratory Supplies


Newborn Screening Medicaid/Paid Card Order Requests

  • Priority overnight shipping requests received on 11/23/2021 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight.
  • All requests received before noon on 11/24/2021 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received after noon on 11/24/2021 through 11/28/2021 will be sent Monday, 11/29/2021.


Texas Health Steps/PKU/TB/HIV/Courier Supply Order Requests

  • All requests received on 11/23/2021 will be audited, issued and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received before 9:00 a.m. on 11/24/2021 will be audited, issued and shipped via FedEx Ground Wednesday afternoon.
  • Requests received after 9:00 a.m. on 11/24/2021 through 11/28/2021 will be audited, issued and shipped on Monday 11/29/2021 via FedEx Ground.


***Per FedEx website, FedEx Ground will be closed 11/25/2021 but will deliver packages 11/26/2021.***

Questions
1-888-963-7111 ext. 7318 or locally 512-776-7318
Main Email: LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov
NBS Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
Clinical Chemistry Email: ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov
Container Preparation: ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted November 01, 2021


DSHS Austin Laboratory Veterans Day Closure Reminder

The DSHS Austin Laboratory will be closed on Thursday, 11/11/2021, in observance of Veterans Day.  No testing will be performed on this day. DSHS Austin Laboratory will resume normal operating hours and testing on Friday, 11/12/2021.

Questions? 
1-888-963-7111 ext. 7318 or locally 512-776-7318
Main Email: LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov
NBS Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
Clinical Chemistry Email: ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov
Microbiology Email: Lab.Microbiology@dshs.texas.gov 
Container Preparation: ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

Posted October 11, 2021


Changes to the Texas DSHS Laboratory Fee Schedule Including a Fee Increase to the NBS Test


The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory Services Section (LSS) is in the process of revising laboratory testing and fees for laboratory services to meet business needs.  These revisions are proposed to take effect January 1, 2022. Stakeholders can submit comments until December 30, 2021 at LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov or by mail at:  Laboratory Services Section, Attn. Fee Schedule Changes, PO Box 149347, Austin, TX 78714-9347.   

There will be a fee increase to the NBS test:

Effective January 1, 2022, the new cost of PAID newborn screening (NBS) kits will be raised to $63.55 due to the addition of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).  PAID NBS kits ordered on or after January 1, 2022 will be billed at the new price of $63.55.

Other fee schedule changes

Visit https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/Fees/90-day-notice-Jan-2022-Fee-Schedule-Notice-full-letter-for-website.pdf to view all fee schedule changes, including:

  • fee changes to existing tests,
  • changes to test names to more accurately reflect the actual test procedure,
  • new tests added, and
  • existing tests discontinued.

The new fee schedules will be posted to the DSHS Laboratory website by January 1, 2022.  To view the current Austin and South Texas DSHS Laboratory fee schedules, please use the following link: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/fees.shtm . 

NBS questions or comments:

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or for local calls 512-776-7333

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted October 1, 2021


Newborn Screening Awareness Month: Clinical Care Coordination for Out-of-Range Results 

 

The Texas Department of State Health Services Newborn Screening Program (DSHS NBS) has a team of dedicated staff who strive to provide timely notification to healthcare providers and parents of babies with out-of-range newborn screening results. This quick response helps to minimize complications and save the lives of Texas babies every day.  

The Clinical Care Coordination Team (CCC Team) includes public health prevention specialists and nurses. Two of the team’s main goals are ensuring that babies receive appropriate diagnostic testing and treatment and providing educational resources to both families and healthcare providers. 

The CCC Team provides screening results to primary care providers through a variety of methods. Please watch this short video for more information on the follow-up process for NBS.

Order Free Newborn Screening Educational Materials 

The NBS Program provides brochures and publications in English and Spanish to healthcare providers, parents, and medical staff. View and order free publications.

Contact Us for More Information

Laboratory:

newbornscreeninglab@dshs.texas.gov or 888-963-7111 ext. 7333

Clinical Care Coordination:
newborn@dshs.texas.gov or 800-252-8023 ext. 3957 


Posted September 27, 2021


September is National Newborn Screening Awareness Month

Helpful Hints to Reduce Testing Delays


In 2020:

  • More than 9,500 specimens were delayed for testing due to demographic errors. 
  • More than 4,500 specimens did not meet testing criteria due to poor specimen quality and/or demographic issues. All required recollection.

Collection of good quality specimens with complete and accurate demographic information enables timely testing!

To improve quality of demographic data:


  • Complete all demographic information accurately and legibly. Verify the year is correct, the date of collection is after the date of birth, and birthweight is listed in grams.
  • Have a second individual double check all newborn screening specimens before shipment. Implementing a “second check” system at your facility will help ensure the timely testing of all newborn screens
  • Having the parents of the newborn check the demographic information can be a good verification of demographic information.

To improve specimen quality, follow all collection guidelines:

  • Use the proper sized heel lancet (<2.0 mm length).
  • Avoid using capillary tubes for specimen collection.  Using capillary tubes often causes clotting or other unsatisfactory qualities.
  • Lightly touch the filter paper with a large drop of blood while watching it soak through completely from the opposite side.
  • Ensure that each circle is completely filled, one at a time. 
  • Avoid reapplying blood to filter paper circle. This often causes the blood to cake or clot.
  • Store Newborn Screening kits and collected specimens away from sunlight.For more tips to avoid unsatisfactory specimens please see our Quality Improvement Hints.


For More Information:

Posted September 22, 2021



September is National Newborn Screening Awareness Month


Newborn screening is recognized as the largest and most successful public health disease prevention program in the US.

#1 Baby Foot

Check Out Our 2020 Annual Report For Texas Statistics!

  • In 2020 the Texas Department of State Health Services received more than 715,000 specimens.
  • Of the babies tested in 2020 more than 850 babies were diagnosed with one of the 54 screened conditions*. 
  • Find current list of conditions on the Texas Newborn Screening Panel
    here
    *On June 1st, 2021 Texas Department of State Health Services added Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) to the Newborn Screening Panel bringing the number of screened conditions to 55.

Remember to Check Out the
National Newborn Screening Awareness Efforts

Posted September 13, 2021


Texas DSHS is Celebrating! September is

National Newborn Screening Awareness Month


NBS National Newborn month

Thank you for ensuring Texas babies are screened!


  • Newborn screening (NBS) is recognized as the largest and most successful public health disease prevention program in the US. 
  • Through the Texas NBS Panel, more than 800 babies are diagnosed with one of the 55 screened conditions each year.
  • The 55th disorder, Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), was added to the Texas NBS Panel on June 1, 2021.

#1 Baby Foot

National Newborn Screening Awareness Efforts


Posted September 3, 2021


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints

Spot Focus on Specimens that Appear Contaminated or Discolored

 

In 2020, over 230 newborn screening specimens were rejected because the blood appeared contaminated or discolored. All of these specimens required a recollection and caused critical delays to testing.

Why is a specimen that appeared contaminated or discolored rejected?

Contaminants can interfere with the test method and discoloration indicates an uneven application of blood on the filter paper, both can cause inaccurate test results.

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 3-2021 for:

-Examples of this type of rejection

-Tips on how to avoid this rejection

-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection  

Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions?

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted September 2, 2021


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints- August 2021 

Spot Focus on Caked, Clotted, or Layered Blood on Filter Paper


In 2020, over 1,651 newborn screening specimens were rejected because the blood was caked, clotted, or layered onto the filter paper. All of these specimens required a recollection and caused critical delays to testing.

Why is caked, clotted, or layered specimen rejected?

The filter paper is designed to hold a specific amount of blood. Caked, clotted, and layered blood specimens have too much blood. Specimens that have too much blood can cause falsely elevated results.

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 2-2021 for:

-Examples of this type of rejection

-Tips on how to avoid this rejection

-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection


Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.


Questions? 

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov


Posted August 3 , 2021


2020 Texas Newborn Screening Annual Report

TOGETHER in 2020 we:

  • Screened about 370,000 babies and over 718,000 newborn screening (NBS) specimens.
  • Identified 867 babies born in 2020 (to date) affected by one of the NBS Disorders.

Texas babies depend on the entire NBS System - KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

2020 Texas Newborn Screening by the Numbers provides:

* U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (ACHDNC)

**List of NBS Disorders by Time Criticality

Questions / Comments

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333  OR  512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.state.tx.us

BIOCHEMISTRY AND GENETICS BRANCH * LABORATORY SERVICES SECTION * PO BOX 149347 * AUSTIN, TX 78714-3194

Posted July 30 , 2021


Newborn Screening Fee Increase

 

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) began screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) on June 1, 2021. The Newborn Screening Fee is expected to increase as a result of this new addition.  

Q: When does the increase start?

A: The fee increase is expected to be effective on January 1, 2022.  

Q: How much will the fee increase?

A: The fee for each insurance/self-pay test kit is expected to increase by about $3.00.   Stakeholders will be notified of the new fee a minimum of 90 days prior to the increase.  

Q: Why is the fee increasing?

A: DSHS expanded the Texas Newborn Screening (NBS) Panel to include Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). The test methodology detects a homozygous deletion of exon 7 within the SMN1 gene.  DSHS must increase the fee to cover the additional cost of providing SMA screening and follow-up services.  

Q: How do I choose the correct kit?

A: Use the Insurance/Self-Pay Test Kit (form #NBS4) for newborns who are covered under a private insurance plan or will pay out of pocket.     

     Use the Medicaid/CHIP/Charity Test Kit (form #NBS3) ONLY for Medicaid eligible newborns, newborns covered by CHIP, or newborns that have no other payment option as required in Texas Administrative Code, Title 25 Section 37.55.   

Q: Who pays for the insurance/self-pay kits?

A: DSHS will bill the person or facility that orders insurance/self-pay test kits.  

Q: What steps do providers take for reimbursement of the newborn screening test kit cost?

A:

  1. Contact each health plan or insurance company to update your facility contracts.
  2. Verify that Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code S3620 is updated to match the current cost for the screening kit.
  3. Submit newborn screening claims using HCPCS code S3620.

    

Questions? 

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted July 21 , 2021



Changes to 2021 Newborn Screening

Specimen Collection Kits

 

A new lot of newborn screening specimen collection kits with serial number starting 21 (21-XXXXXXX) will be shipped out soon.  The following are changes from previous kits. 

NBS Kit notice 2021 Final

Please ensure all information is complete, accurate, to the best of your knowledge, and legible prior to shipping specimens to DSHS. Incorrect, missing, misplaced, or invalid information can cause specimen rejection, delays in testing, and incorrect test results and reports. 

Are older versions of the collection kit still acceptable? 

Yes, all cards are still acceptable until the expiration date printed on the card. 

Questions?  

Call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333 

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted July 15, 2021


July 2021 Newborn Screening Card Orders

Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory is continuing to have unforeseen manufacturing issues and shipping delays in the arrival of the new stock of newborn screening cards. The existing stock of newborn screening cards is being used to fulfill orders. To ensure adequate supply for all providers until the new cards are ready to ship, please see the following information:

  • Through July 31, newborn screening card requests of more than 500 will be reduced to a maximum of 500 to be filled and sent.
  • All requests will be reviewed and adjusted, based on previously filled requests, for a one-month quantity. Adjusted requests will not be backfilled; therefore, a new request will need to be submitted.
  • If your facility becomes critically low on cards, please contact DSHS at 512-776-7661.
  • Any account currently on hold will not be filled until the account has been cleared. If you have questions or need to make payment, please contact LabAR@dshs.texas.gov via email as they are not onsite for phone coverage.

 

Order Information

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7661 or 512-776-7661

ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

 

Questions

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted July 09, 2021


Update-Newborn Screening (NBS) for X-ALD


Issues with testing instrumentation have been resolved and DSHS has resumed X-ALD testing for all specimens. 

  • Some specimens with delayed testing for X-ALD were sent to an outside laboratory for completion of testing and were reported as “Test Pending” for X-ALD, with a result reporting note stating, “Final report with results for this disorder to follow”.
  • Once testing at the outside laboratory is complete, DSHS will send revised results with final X-ALD screening results.
  • All final results for specimens sent to the outside laboratory are expected to be reported by DSHS no later than Monday July 12, 2021.
  • For submitters receiving electronic results, revised results are expected to transmit as usual for all affected specimens.
  • For submitters who receive reports by mail or by fax, revised reports with final results are expected to be sent the same way.
  • Submitters who receive their results online will also get a copy by mail.
  • Regular screening for X-ALD has been reinstated.  

The DSHS Newborn Screening Program appreciates the dedication and commitment of healthcare providers to ensure the best possible outcomes for Texas newborns.

   

Questions? 

Contact Newborn Screening Laboratory:

Phone: 1 (888) 963-7111 ext. 7333 or Locally: 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov


Posted July 08, 2021


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints
Spot Focus on Incomplete Saturation

In 2020, over 2,100 newborn screening specimens were rejected because the blood did not properly soak through the filter paper. All of these specimens required a recollection and caused critical delays to testing.

Why is a specimen with incomplete saturation rejected?

The filter paper is designed to hold a specific amount of blood. Incomplete saturation will have too little blood for proper testing. An insufficient amount of blood may cause test results to be inaccurate; therefore, these specimens will be unsatisfactory for testing.

Download Quality Improvement Hint Volume 1-2021 for:


-Examples of this type of rejection
-Tips on how to avoid this rejection
-Links to other resources about newborn screening specimen collection

Find all Spot Focus Quality Improvement Hints here.

Questions? 
1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted July 06, 2021


Changes to 2021 Newborn Screening

Specimen Collection Kits

 

A new lot of newborn screening specimen collection kits with serial number starting 21 (21-XXXXXXX) will be shipped out starting in July 2021. The following are changes from previous kits.

What has changed?  

  • The Newborn InformationDemographic Page: section on the
    • Added Gestational Age.
      • Enter the number of completed gestational weeks and days at the time of birth.  If number of days is not available, use completed gestational weeks.
    • Added NPO (nil per os) as a new choice in the Feed section.
      • Choose NPO when no food or liquid is given by mouth.
    • Added Meconium Ileus
      • Meconium Ileus is blockage of the small intestine caused by excessively thick intestinal contents.
      • Choose yes if present or no if not present.  
  • Extended expiration date:
    • The new collection kits are valid for 5 years from the date of manufacturing; correct storage is crucial.

Please ensure all information is complete, accurate, and legible prior to shipping specimens to DSHS. Incorrect, missing, misplaced, or invalid information can cause specimen rejection, delays in testing, and incorrect test results and reports.

 

FAQ

Are older versions of the collection kit still acceptable?

Yes, all cards are still acceptable until the expiration date printed on the card.

How do the changes affect HL7 order entry?

No changes are currently requested to inbound HL7 order messages. DSHS will coordinate directly with HL7 partners when any changes are proposed.

How do the changes affect DSHS NBS Web Application order entry?

No changes are currently requested for web entry. Providers are asked to continue entering information currently requested into the application. Future improvements to this application will allow entry of the new fields and options.

Questions?

Call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted July 01, 2021



ATTENTION NEWBORN SCREENING SUBMITTERS

DSHS BEGAN SMA TESTING JUNE 1, 2021

 

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) added screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) to the Texas Newborn Screening Panel effective June 1, 2021.

What is SMA?

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is an inherited condition that affects the cells in the spinal cord that signal the muscles to work.  Over time, the muscles get weaker and activities such as crawling, walking, sitting up, and controlling head movements become more difficult. Severe cases of SMA affect the muscles used for breathing and swallowing and can lead to early death.

Will samples received before June 1, 2021 be tested for SMA?

No, samples will not be screened retrospectively. 

 

Will there be a fee increase?

Yes, an increase is expected and planned for January 2022. DSHS will notify stakeholders of the amount at least 90 days prior to the change.

Will more blood be needed to complete this test?

No additional blood is needed. Continue to collect 5 completely saturated or filled blood spots.

How common is SMA?

About 1 in 8,000 to 1 in 10,000 babies are affected by SMA.

Will the newborn screen detect all babies with SMA?

The test will identify SMA that is caused by a homozygous deletion of exon 7 in the SMN1 gene.  This accounts for about 95% of all SMA cases.

 

Is there any treatment for SMA?

Although there is currently no cure for SMA, there are multiple FDA approved treatments available and effective if diagnosed early.

 

What conditions are included on Texas Newborn Screening Panel?

The Texas panel includes 54 laboratory and two point-of-care screens.  A list of the conditions on the Texas Newborn Screening Panel can be found here (pdf).

Currently, the Texas Newborn Screening Laboratory screens for 30 core conditions and reports an additional 24 secondary conditions.  With the addition of SMA, Texas will screen for 31 core conditions.

 

Where can I find more information on SMA?

Watch for continued updates, including list serve announcements, throughout the implementation process.  Find more information on SMA at Baby’s First Test and CureSMA

 

For questions or comments:

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted June 01, 2021





Newborn Screening SMA Testing and Result Reporting Statements Effective June 1, 2021

The Texas DSHS Newborn Screening (NBS) Laboratory will be adding Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) to the Newborn Screening Panel. Thirteen new result reporting statements will be added as well as one new Unsatisfactory reporting statement to reflect the addition of SMA screening. These updates are scheduled to go into effect June 1, 2021. A full list of all test results can be found here: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/nbs/results/

Updated result report examples are available here:

Reminder: Read screening result notes fully before taking action.

Previous notification, “Newborn Screening Result Report and Result Reporting Statements for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)” sent April 2021, can be found here.

Questions / Comments

Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or for local calls 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.state.tx.us

Posted May 27, 2021 


 IMPORTANT NOTICE

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

Scheduled Go Live Date

 


The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will be adding screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) to the Texas Newborn Screening Panel June 1, 2021.


What is SMA?

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is an inherited condition that affects the cells in the spinal cord that signal the muscles to work.  Over time, the muscles get weaker and activities such as crawling, walking, sitting up, and controlling head movements become more difficult. Severe cases of SMA affect the muscles used for breathing and swallowing and can lead to early death.

When will SMA be added to the Texas NBS Panel?

This addition is anticipated to begin June 1, 2021.

Will there be a fee increase?

Yes, an increase is expected and planned for January 2022. DSHS will notify stakeholders of the amount at least 90 days prior to the change.

Will more blood be needed to complete this test?

No additional blood is needed. Continue to collect 5 completely saturated or filled blood spots.

How common is SMA?

About 1 in 8,000 to 1 in 10,000 babies are affected by SMA.

Will the newborn screen detect all babies with SMA?

The test will identify SMA that is caused by a homozygous deletion of exon 7 in the SMN1 gene.  This accounts for about 95% of all SMA cases.

Is there any treatment for SMA?

Although there is currently no cure for SMA, there are multiple FDA approved treatments available and effective if diagnosed early.

What conditions are included on Texas Newborn Screening Panel?

The Texas panel includes 54 laboratory and two point-of-care screens.  A list of the conditions on the Texas Newborn Screening Panel can be found here (pdf).

Currently, the Texas Newborn Screening Laboratory screens for 30 core conditions and reports an additional 24 secondary conditions.  With the addition of SMA, Texas will screen for 31 core conditions.

Where can I find more information on SMA?

Watch for continued updates, including email notices, throughout the implementation process.  Find more information on SMA at Baby’s First Test and CureSMA.  

 

For questions or comments:

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

   Posted May 26, 2021 


May and June 2021 Newborn Screening Card Orders


Due to unforeseen manufacturing issues, there will be a delay in the arrival of the new stock of newborn screening cards. Currently, existing stock of newborn screening cards is being used to fulfill orders.  To ensure adequate supply for all providers, please see the following information:

  • Starting May 1 through July 2, newborn screening card requests of more than 500 will be reduced to a maximum of 500 to be filled and sent.
  • All requests will be reviewed and adjusted, based on previously filled requests, for a one-month quantity. Adjusted requests will not be backfilled; therefore, a new request will need to be submitted.
  • If your facility becomes critically low on cards, please contact DSHS at 512-776-7661.
  • Any account currently on hold will not be filled until the account has been cleared. If you have questions or need to make payment, please contact LabAR@dshs.texas.gov via email as they are not onsite for phone coverage.
 

Order Information

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7661 or 512-776-7661

ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

Questions

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted April 29, 2021 


Newborn Screening Result Report and Result Reporting Statements for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)

The Texas Newborn Screening (NBS) Laboratory plans to begin testing for SMA due to homozygous deletion of exon 7 in SMN1 in Summer of 2021.

SMA Results will display in an additional row on the disorder table:

 SMA Results

Result Reporting Statements for SMA include:


Questions? Call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted April, 2021 



IMPORTANT NOTICE

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) to be Added to the

Texas Newborn Screening Panel


The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will be adding screening for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) to the Texas Newborn Screening Panel in Summer 2021.


What is SMA?

Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is an inherited condition that affects the cells in the spinal cord that signal the muscles to work.  Over time, the muscles get weaker and activities such as crawling, walking, sitting up, and controlling head movements become more difficult. Severe cases of SMA affect the muscles used for breathing and swallowing and can lead to early death.

When will SMA be added to the Texas NBS Panel?

This addition is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2021.

Will there be a fee increase?

Yes, an increase is expected and planned for January 2022. DSHS will notify stakeholders of the amount at least 90 days prior to the change.

Will more blood be needed to complete this test?

No additional blood is needed. Continue to collect 5 completely saturated or filled blood spots.

How common is SMA?

About 1 in 8,000 to 1 in 10,000 babies are affected by SMA.

Will the newborn screen detect all babies with SMA?

The test will identify SMA that is caused by a homozygous deletion of exon 7 in the SMN1 gene.  This accounts for about 95% of all SMA cases.

Is there any treatment for SMA?

Although there is currently no cure for SMA, there are multiple FDA approved treatments available and effective if diagnosed early. 

What conditions are included on Texas Newborn Screening Panel?

The Texas panel includes 54 laboratory and two point-of-care screens.  A list of the conditions on the Texas Newborn Screening Panel can be found here (pdf).

Currently, the Texas Newborn Screening Laboratory screens for 30 core conditions and reports an additional 24 secondary conditions.  With the addition of SMA, Texas will screen for 31 core conditions. 

Where can I find more information on SMA?

Watch for continued updates, including list serve announcements, throughout the implementation process.  Find more information on SMA at Baby’s First Test and CureSMA.  

For questions or comments:

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted April 22, 2021 


Attention Newborn Screening Submitters

Hemoglobin G Reporting Resumes April 5, 2021

 

DSHS Newborn Screening Laboratory will resume reporting “Hemoglobin G.” Effective 04/05/2021, specimens showing possible Hemoglobin G during testing will be identified and reported on the newborn screening result report.

Questions / Comments

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333  OR  512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.state.tx.us

BIOCHEMISTRY AND GENETICS BRANCH * LABORATORY SERVICES SECTION * PO BOX 149347 * AUSTIN, TX 78714-3194

Posted April 05, 2021 


Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory - Annual Customer Satisfaction Survey, Austin TX

 

Please complete the following survey. Your responses are very important as they help us improve our services.

The survey will take approximately 5 - 10 minutes to complete.  Please click here to begin the survey. 

Please complete the survey by April 15, 2021.

If you have questions, contact the DSHS Laboratory at 512-776-7578. 

Posted March 15, 2021 


2021 Winter Storm – Results from Samples Sent to Reference Lab

In response to the winter storm, the Department of State Health Services Newborn Screening Laboratory sent approximately 1,200 specimens to a reference laboratory to ensure timeliness of testing and reporting. 

  • All reference laboratory testing has been completed. DSHS Clinical Care Coordination will follow up on any out of range results.
  • Submitters will still receive result reports from DSHS, but reports will deviate from the usual DSHS format.
  • A cover page will be included in all reports with the newborn demographics and submitter information. 
  • The reference laboratory report will be attached to the cover page and will be at least 2 pages.
  • Results for all specimens will be available through the Texas Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics).
  • Submitters who receive results via mail, fax, or web application will receive results in the usual manner.
  • Submitters normally receiving results via HL7 will only receive reports via mail. No electronic results will be sent for affected specimens.
  • Submitters do not need to contact the reference laboratory for results.

The DSHS Newborn Screening Program appreciates the dedication and commitment of healthcare providers to ensure the best possible outcomes for Texas newborns. 


Questions?

Contact Newborn Screening Laboratory:

Phone: 1 (888) 963-7111 ext. 7333 or Locally: 512-776-7333

Email:  NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted February 25, 2021


Newborn Screening Update -  Specimens Received Too Old To Test

 

  • Due to delays in transit from the recent winter storm, DSHS has received a high number of specimens that are too old to test and report results based on regulatory requirements.
  • All specimens received 14 days or more since collection will be tested but will be reported on the newborn screening result report as “Unsatisfactory – Specimen Too Old Upon Receipt”.
  • All specimens reported as “Too Old Upon Receipt” MUST be recollected.
  • If there are results requiring immediate follow-up, DSHS Clinical Care Coordination will notify provider.
  • DSHS will issue a credit to providers who submitted specimens collected on NBS4 Test Kit Form (Insurance/self-Pay) that were reported as “Too Old Upon Receipt” due to storm related delays in shipping and receiving.
  • The credit will be issued based on DSHS records. No action will be needed by submitters.

Questions? 

Contact Newborn Screening Laboratory:

Phone: 1 (888) 963-7111 ext. 7333 or Locally: 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov


After Hours Answering Service: 1-888-963-7111

Contact Clinical Care Coordination:

Email: Newborn@dshs.texas.gov

Posted February 24, 2021


UPDATE 2021 Winter Storm and Newborn Screening-TESTING RESUMED

 

Know:

  • The Texas Newborn Screening (NBS) Laboratory resumed normal operations starting Saturday, February 20.
  • DSHS courier pickups and deliveries have resumed.
  • NBS Program operations will continue at maximum capacity to resolve specimen backlogs.
  • DSHS shipped a limited number of specimens to a reference laboratory to improve timeliness of testing.
  • DSHS Clinical Care Coordination will provide follow-up outreach services as soon as results are available for samples tested in the TX NBS Laboratory and the reference laboratory.

Providers should continue to:

  • If a child is showing signs or symptoms of a possible critical newborn screening condition,
    • Note that NBS results may not be available.
    • Initiate diagnostic work-up or treatment as needed.
    • Contact NBS Clinical Care Coordination immediately for assistance with follow-up recommendations and contact information for clinical referral specialists in your area.
  • Expedite follow-up activities on out-of-range results as much 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.
  • Collect and dry newborn screens within the appropriate timeframes.
    • 1st newborn screen - between 24 - 48 hours of age or before hospital discharge.
    • 2nd newborn screen - 1-2 weeks of age.
  • Ship specimens through normal delivery method as soon as possible.

The DSHS Newborn Screening Program appreciates the dedication and commitment of healthcare providers to ensure the best possible outcomes for Texas newborns. 

Questions?

Newborn Screening Laboratory - Monday to Friday 8:00am-5:00pm:

512-776-7333  

Newborn Screening Laboratory Emergency Contact:                After Hours Answering Service:

512-689-9996                                                                                   1-888-963-7111

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov


Clinical Care Coordination Emergency Contact:

512-939-1216

Newborn@dshs.texas.gov

Posted February 20, 2021


2021 Winter Storm and Newborn Screening

 

Know:

  • The Texas Newborn Screening (NBS) Laboratory has been unable to resume operations since Saturday, February 13.
  • DSHS courier pickups and testing will resume as soon as possible.
  • DSHS may ship specimens to a reference laboratory to improve timeliness of testing.
  • Result reporting including out-of-range results will be delayed but completed ASAP.
  • DSHS Clinical Care Coordination will provide follow-up outreach services as soon as results are available.

Providers should continue to:

  • If a child is showing signs or symptoms of a possible critical newborn screening condition,
    • Note that NBS results may not be available.
    • Initiate diagnostic work-up or treatment as needed.
    • Contact NBS Clinical Care Coordination immediately for assistance with follow-up recommendations and contact information for clinical referral specialists in your area.
  • Expedite follow-up activities on out-of-range results as much 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.
  • Collect and dry newborn screens within the appropriate timeframes.
    • 1st newborn screen - between 24 - 48 hours of age, or before hospital discharge.
    • 2nd newborn screen - 1-2 weeks of age.
  • Ship specimens through normal delivery method as soon as possible.
    • Contact courier directly for service information for your area.
    • Where courier services are delayed, store the specimens at room temperature in a dry location.
    • Do not put specimens in air-tight sealed containers.

While navigating winter storm challenges, the DSHS Newborn Screening Program appreciates the dedication and commitment of healthcare providers to ensure the best possible outcomes for Texas newborns. 

Questions? 

Newborn Screening Laboratory Emergency Contact:                After Hours Answering Service:

512-689-9996                                                                                               1-888-963-7111

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov


Clinical Care Coordination Emergency Contact:

512-939-1216

Newborn@dshs.texas.gov

Posted February 17, 2021 


2021 IS HERE!

Wrong dates will delay Newborn Screening (NBS) specimen testing or cause

specimen REJECTION.

How to help avoid NBS testing delays and specimen rejection:

  • Ensure dates (including year) are complete and accurate.
  • Assign staff to double check that all specimen information is:
    • Complete
    • Accurate
    • Legible
  • Respond to DSHS staff requests for clarifying information.

Example of correct date and time format:

NBS 2021 Update

Questions?

Call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.state.tx.us      

Posted December 31, 2020 


Laboratory Christmas and New Year Holiday Closure Reminders


Newborn Screening Laboratory

Christmas Holiday Closed Date:  12/25/2020

  • The Newborn Screening Lab will be closed on Christmas Day and will resume testing on Saturday, 12/26/2020.

New Year’s Holiday Closed Date:  1/1/2021

  • The Newborn Screening Lab will be closed on New Year’s Day and will resume testing on Saturday, 1/2/2021.

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 soon as possible.

Clinical Chemistry Laboratory

Christmas Holiday Closed Dates:  12/24/2020 – 12/25/2020

  • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid, cholesterol, and creatinine specimens must be received by Wednesday, 12/23/2020 to complete testing prior to the Christmas holiday.
  • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid panel, glucose, or creatinine specimens between the dates of 12/23/2020 - 12/27/2020.

New Year’s Holiday Closed Date:  1/1/2021

  • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid, cholesterol, and creatinine specimens must be received by Thursday, 12/31/2020 to complete testing prior to the New Year’s holiday.
  • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid panel, glucose, or creatinine specimens on Thursday, 12/31/2020.

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

https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/MRS_labtests_toc.shtm


Microbiology Testing Notices

 

Christmas Holiday Closed Dates:  12/24/2020 – 12/25/2020

New Year’s Holiday Closed Date:  1/1/2021

   

Rabies Laboratory:

    Note: Ship specimens for Rabies testing via Greyhound Bus. 

  • Specimens for Rabies testing received before 8:00 AM on Wednesday, 12/23/2020 will be tested on Wednesday, 12/23/2020.
    • Results will be available before 5:00 PM. 
  • Specimens received between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Wednesday, 12/23/2020 will be tested on Thursday, 12/24/2020 and preliminary results will be available by noon if requested.
  • All other specimens will be tested on Monday, 12/28/2020.
  • Specimens for Rabies testing received before 8:00 AM on Thursday, 12/31/2020 will be tested on Thursday, 12/31/2020.
    • Results will be available before 5:00 PM.
  • Specimens received between 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM on Thursday, 12/31/2020 will be tested on Friday, 01/01/2021, and preliminary results will be available by noon if requested.
  • All other specimens will be tested on Monday, 01/04/2021.
  • Emergency testing is available on 12/24/2020, 12/26/2020, 01/01/2021 and 01/02/2021. Contact lab personnel to arrange emergency testing (512-776-7595). Specimen receipt must be guaranteed by 8:00 AM the day of testing. 

Viral Isolation Laboratory: 

  • DO NOT ship specimens between Wednesday, 12/23/2020 through Sunday, 12/27/2020. 
    • Store collected specimens at -70°C or below. Note: Upon approval, priority COVID-19 specimens can be tested. Pre-arrangement of testing is required.
    • Ship specimens on dry ice for delivery on 12/29/2020.
  • DO NOT ship specimens on Thursday, 12/31/2020 through Sunday, 1/3/2021.
    • Store collected specimens at -70°C or below. Note: Upon approval, priority COVID-19 specimens can be tested. Pre-arrangement of testing is required.
    • Ship specimens on dry ice for delivery on Tuesday, 1/5/2021.

Mycobacteriology/Mycology Laboratory:

Note: Contact lab personnel for expedited test requests (512-776-7342).

  • To receive expedited AFB Smear and NAA for M. tuberculosis test results before the Christmas holiday:
    • Ensure specimens are delivered to the laboratory by 8:00 AM on Wednesday, 12/23/2020.
  • DO NOT ship specimens on Wednesday, 12/23/2020 through Friday, 12/25/2020.
    • Store collected specimens in the refrigerator, and ship for delivery on Monday, 12/28/2020. 
  • DO NOT ship specimens to be delivered on Thursday, 12/31/2020 or Friday, 1/1/2021. 
    • Store collected specimens in refrigerator and ship for delivery on Monday, 1/4/2021.

Bacteriology Laboratory (Human Samples)

  • Bacteriology samples will not be accepted or tested on following dates:
    • 12/24/2020 – 12/27/2020
    • 1/1/2021 – 1/3/2021

AMD/WGS Samples

  • Whole genome sequencing samples will not be accepted or tested on following dates:
    • 12/24/2020 – 12/27/2020
    • 1/1/2021 – 1/3/2021

Serology Laboratory

  • DO NOT ship specimens to be delivered on Wednesday, 12/23/2020 through Friday, 12/25/2020. 
  • DO NOT ship specimens to be delivered on Thursday, 12/31/2020 or Friday, 1/1/2021.  

Bacteriology Water Samples

  • Water samples will NOT be accepted on the following dates:
    • 12/23/2020 – 12/27/2020
    • 12/31/2020
    • 1/1/2021 – 1/3/2021

Newborn Screening Medicaid/Paid Card Order Requests

  • Priority overnight shipping requests received on 12/22/2020 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight.
  • Priority overnight shipping requests received on 12/29/2020 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight.
  • All requests received before noon on 12/23/2020 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • All requests received before noon on 12/30/2020 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received after noon on 12/23/2020 through 12/27/2020 will be sent Monday, 12/28/2020.
  • Requests received after noon on 12/30/2020 through 1/3/2021 will be sent Monday, 1/4/2021.

Texas Health Steps/PKU/TB/HIV/Courier Supply Order Requests

  • All requests received on 12/22/2020 will be audited, issued and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received prior to 9:00 AM on 12/23/2020 will be audited, issued and shipped via FedEx Ground for pick up Wednesday afternoon.
  • Requests received after 9:00 AM on 12/23/2020 through 12/27/2020 will be audited, issued and shipped on Monday 12/28/2020 via FedEx Ground.
  • All requests received on 12/30/2020 will be audited, issued and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received prior to 9:00 AM on 12/31/2020 will be audited, issued and shipped via FedEx Ground for pick up Thursday afternoon.
  • Requests received after 9:00 AM on 12/31/2020 through 1/3/2021 will be audited, issued and shipped on Monday 1/4/2021 via FedEx Ground.

***Per FedEx website FedEx Ground will be closed 12/25/2020 through 12/27/2020. & 1/1/2021 through 1/3/2021***

***Per FedEx website FedEx Express will have limited deliveries per area 12/24/2020 & 12/31/2020***

Questions? Contact the Texas DSHS Laboratory:

Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7318 or for local calls 512-776-7318

Email: LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov 

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Or: ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov

Or: Lab.Microbiology@dshs.texas.gov

Or: ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.state.tx.us

Posted December 16, 2020 


DSHS Newborn Screening Improvements to Primary Congenital Hypothyroidism Testing Methodology

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Newborn Screening (NBS) Laboratory—in collaboration with the CDC, Texas endocrinology consultants, and national experts—is conducting an improvement project to optimize screening for Primary Congenital Hypothyroidism (CH).

On December 7, 2020, the DSHS NBS Laboratory implemented initial changes to the CH testing methodology to support project activities. These modifications include:

  • Screening for Thyroxine (T4) and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) for all newborn screening specimens.
  • Improved instrumentation with automated and continuous flow throughput.
  • Faster identification of newborns with critically high TSH levels.
  • No changes for result reporting statements, HL7 reporting or recommended follow-up activities.
  • A slight increase in the quantity of presumptive positive test results during the initial 6-9 months of the project.

What are the long-term goals of the project?

  • Determine the optimal screening algorithm for identification of CH and reduce the false positive rate and age at diagnosis.
  • Reduce the time to provider notification for critically high TSH levels.
  • Improve outcomes and reduce costs to the overall healthcare system.

How can I help to ensure the success of the project?

  • Provide CH diagnosis to the TX NBS Program as soon as available.
  • Notify the TX NBS Program of any Primary Congenital Hypothyroidism cases missed by newborn screening.

Will there be a fee increase?

No. Project activities are funded with the generous support of the CDC.

Will more blood be needed to complete this test?

No. Continue to collect 5 fully saturated blood spots.

Where can I find more information on Primary Congenital Hypothyroidism?

Find more information at Baby’s First Test.

For questions or comments:

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333

Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted December 16, 2020 


Check the Expiration Date on Newborn Screening Kits

 

Newborn Screening (NBS) kits with serial number 18 (18-XXXXXXX), EXPIRE on December 31, 2020.  

Do Not Use ‘18 kits to collect NBS specimens after December 31, 2020. Specimens collected on ‘18 kits after December 31, 2020 will be REJECTED.

To Exchange NBS4 (Insurance/Self-Pay) Kits:

  • Complete the G-6D “Newborn Screening Supplies” order form.
  • Count the number of remaining expired NBS4 kits.
  • Write the number of expired NBS4 kits to exchange in the “Quantity Requested” box
  • Write “Exchange” in the Billing – Purchase Order Number box.
  • Ship the completed form andContainer Preparation Group: expired NBS4 kits (insurance /self-pay) to the

Courier Delivery Address (FedEx, UPS, or other)

DSHS – Laboratory Services Section

Container Preparation Group

1100 W. 49th St.

Austin, TX 78756-3199

 

USPS Address (regular mail service)

DSHS – Laboratory Services Section, MC 1947

Container Preparation Group

PO Box 149341

Austin, TX 78714-934


    NOTE: Do Not return expired NBS3 (Medicaid/Charity Care/CHIP) kits. Dispose of them appropriately.

    • The shipping cost is the responsibility of the submitter.
    • Exchanges are accepted up to 3months after the kit expiration date (e.g. kits expired on December 31, 2020 need to be received by DSHS on or before March 31, 2021). 
    • Allow DSHS five (5) business days from receipt of exchange request to process the request. 


    To order additional new kits:

    NOTE: Orders for additional kits will not be processed from the same G-6D form as the request for exchange of expired kits. Only the exchange will be processed.  

    Additional Information:

    Review NBS4 (Insurance/Self-Pay) Kit Exchange of Expired Kits.


    Questions / Comments

    888-963-7111 ext. 7661 or 512-776-7661

    ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

    Laboratory Newborn Screening URL:

    https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/newbornscreening.shtm

    This service is provided to you at no charge by the Texas Department of State Health Services.

    Visit us on the web at http://www.dshs.texas.gov.

    Posted December 16, 2020 


    2021 Will Soon be Here

    Wrong dates will delay specimen testing or cause specimen REJECTION.

    Avoid Delays and Specimen Rejection:

    • Ensure dates (including year) are complete and accurate. 
    • Assign staff to double check that all specimen information is:
      • Complete
      • Accurate
      • Legible
    • Respond to DSHS staff requests for clarifying information.

     2021 is Here

       

    For questions or comments:        

    Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or for local calls 512-776-7333

    Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.state.tx.us

    Posted December 14, 2020 


    Notice regarding a Funding Opportunity for Newborn Screening Submitters

     

    The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory Services Section announces an Open Enrollment funding opportunity for newborn screening submitters.  The Open Enrollment is posted, for a limited amount of time, at https://apps.hhs.texas.gov/pcs/openenrollment.cfm.

     

    DSHS is seeking Applications to establish Contract(s) and provide funding for Texas newborn screening healthcare providers to develop and implement new HL7 interfaces to electronically order newborn screening on blood spot specimens and to electronically receive the newborn screening results from the DSHS Laboratory.

     

    These interface solutions will improve patient care by reducing the amount of time required for a physician to receive time critical newborn screening results, enhancing the quality of data used to support newborn screening testing, and eliminating testing delays due to missing data and manually intensive data entry processes.

     

    Visit the link above for more information on this funding opportunity, required activities, eligibility criteria and how to apply for funding.  Early submissions are encouraged, as only a limited number of eligible applications can receive awards.

     

    Please contact the DSHS contract manager with any questions at caeli.paradise@dshs.texas.gov.


    Posted Nov 24, 2020


    2019 Texas Newborn Screening (NBS) Annual Report


    TOGETHER in 2019 we:

    • Screened over 380,000 babies and over 737,000 NBS specimens
    • Identified over 850 babies (to date) affected by one of the NBS Disorders

    Texas babies depend on the entire NBS System, KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!  

    2019 Texas Newborn Screening by the Numbers NBS Annual Report provides:

    • Annual Texas statistics
    • Texas’ status on achieving the ACHDNC* recommended timeliness goals  (ACHDNC) (goal is 95%)

       

    * U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders in Newborns and Children (ACHDNC)

    **List of NBS Disorders by Time Criticality

    Questions / Comments

    1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333  OR  512-776-7333

    Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.state.tx.us

    BIOCHEMISTRY AND GENETICS BRANCH * LABORATORY SERVICES SECTION * PO BOX 149347 * AUSTIN, TX 78714-3194

    Posted Nov 17, 2020


    DSHS Austin Laboratory Thanksgiving Holiday Closure Reminders

    Newborn Screening (NBS)

    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 soon as possible.
    • The Newborn Screening Lab will be closed on Thanksgiving Day and will resume testing on Friday, 11/27/2020.

    Newborn Screening Medicaid/Paid Card Order Requests

    • Priority overnight shipping requests received on 11/24/2020 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight.
    • All requests received before noon on 11/25/2020 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Ground.
    • Requests received after noon on 11/25/2020 through 11/29/2020 will be sent Monday, 11/30/2020.

     

    Clinical Chemistry

    Testing Notices:

    • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid/cholesterol and creatinine specimens must be received by Wednesday, 11/25/2020 to complete testing before the holiday.
    • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid profile, glucose, or creatinine specimens on Fridays or on the day before a state-observed holiday.
    • The Clinical Chemistry Laboratory will be closed on 11/26/2020 and 11/27/2020.

     

    Healthcare Provider Reminders:

     

    Texas Health Steps/PKU/TB/HIV/Courier Supply Order Requests

    • All requests received on 11/24/2020 will be audited, issued and shipped via FedEx Ground.
    • Requests received before 9:00 a.m. on 11/25/2020 will be audited, issued and shipped via FedEx Ground for pick up Wednesday afternoon.
    • Requests received after 9:00 a.m. on 11/25/2020 through 11/29/2020 will be audited, issued and shipped on Monday 11/30/2020 via FedEx Ground.

     

    ***Per FedEx website, FedEx Ground will be closed 11/26/2020 but will deliver packages 11/27/2020.***

               

    Microbiology

    • Rabies:
      • Ship rabies specimens via Greyhound Bus. Specimens received after 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 11/25/2020 will be tested Friday, 11/27/2020.
      • Positive results will be called out before noon Friday, 11/27/2020. 
      • Emergency testing is available on Friday, 11/27/2020 and Saturday, 11/28/2020 by arrangement with laboratory personnel (512-776-7595). Specimen receipt must be guaranteed.
      • All other specimens will be tested on Monday, 11/30/2020 and reported before 5:00 p.m.
    • Viral Isolation Laboratory:
      • Do not ship specimens Wednesday, 11/25/2020 – Sunday, 11/29/2020.  Store specimens collected during this time at -70°C or below. Note: Upon approval, priority COVID-19 specimens can be tested. Pre-arrangement of testing is required.  
      • Ship specimens on dry ice the week of 11/30/2020.
    • Mycobacteriology/Mycology Laboratory (TB):
      • Ensure critical AFB Smear and NAA for M. tuberculosis specimens are delivered to the laboratory by 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 11/25/2020  
      • Call 512-776-7342 for expedited test requests before 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 11/25/2020.
      • Do not ship specimens Wednesday, 11/25/2020 to Friday, 11/27/2020.  Keep specimens in refrigerated storage until shipment.
      • No specimens will be tested from Thursday, 11/26/2019 to Sunday, 11/29/2020.
    • Bacteriology Human Samples:
      • Bacteriology samples will not be accepted nor tested the following dates:
        • 11/26/2020 –  11/29/2020

    Bacteriology Water Samples

    • Bacteriology samples will not be accepted the following dates:
      • 11/25/2020 – 11/29/2020

         

    Questions?

    1-888-963-7111 ext. 7318 or locally 512-776-7318

    Main Email: LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov

    NBS Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

    Clinical Chemistry Email: ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov

    Container Preparation: ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

    Posted Nov 03, 2020


    Changes to the Texas DSHS Laboratory Fee Schedule

       

    The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory Services Section (LSS) is in the process of revising laboratory testing and fees for laboratory services to meet business needs.  These revisions are proposed to take effect January 1, 2021. Stakeholders can submit comments until December 30, 2020 at LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov or by mail at:  Laboratory Services Section, Attn. Fee Schedule Changes, PO Box 149347, Austin, TX 78714-9347.  

    Fee schedule changes:

    Visit https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/lab/Fees/90-day-notice---Jan-2021-Fee-Schedule-Notice---full-letter-for-website.pdf to view all proposed fee schedule changes, including:

    • fee changes to existing tests,
    • new tests added, and
    • existing tests discontinued.

    The new fee schedules will be posted to the DSHS Laboratory website by January 1, 2021.  To view the current Austin and South Texas DSHS Laboratory fee schedules, please use the following link: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/fees.shtm 
     

    DSHS Laboratory Forms:

    As with previous fee revisions, the laboratory submission forms may also be revised.  Revised submission forms would be provided to you no later than December 31, 2020 for use beginning January 1, 2021.  

    Thank you for your continued partnership and support.

    Posted Oct 01, 2020


    Changes to Newborn Screening Result Reporting Statements

    The Texas DSHS Newborn Screening (NBS) Laboratory is updating the result reporting statements for the following abnormal results to reflect the current Clinical Care Coordination follow up care recommendations. These updates are scheduled to go into effect August 10, 2020. All changes are indicated in red.

    A full list of all possible results can be found here: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/nbs/results/.

    Reminders:

    • Read Screening Result Notes fully before taking action.
    • Contact laboratory with any questions:
      • Telephone: 1-888-963-7111 X7585 or x2638 
      • Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.tx.gov

    Posted Jul 24, 2020


    DSHS Laboratory – Microbiological Sciences Branch Notice


    The DSHS Laboratory has implemented the use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) for the identification and serotyping of some Salmonella spp. in human clinical specimens. WGS will be used on a limited number of Salmonella spp. surveillance samples to provide Organism ID and Serotype. This information will be included in the reports for selected clinical samples submitted on or after July 20, 2020.

    • This additional information cannot be provided for samples submitted previously.
    • All clinical samples submitted will be processed for surveillance purposes. Only a portion of these samples will be sequenced to provide this additional information.

    There will be no changes to the specimen submission or reporting process.

    Please contact the DSHS Microbiology laboratory with any questions you have at Lab.Microbiology@dshs.texas.gov.

    Posted Jul 20, 2020


    Urgent – Assistance Needed

     

    Due to a recent incident, Data Rush Couriers, DSHS Laboratory’s third party courier, may be contacting you in an effort to gather needed information related to specimen submission. Please cooperate with their information gathering efforts as quickly as possible so that regulatory timelines may be met.

    Posted May 06, 2020


    DSHS TB/HIV/STD Section to Move Starting May 18


    The DSHS TB/HIV/STD Section will move to a new physical location between May 18 and May 29, 2020. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the physical work location of most staff will not change until those precautions are modified. However, phone numbers, fax numbers, and the delivery address will change in stages:

    May 18: The main section phone number will change to 737-255-4300. Some section fax machines and staff phone numbers will change. The physical delivery address will change to 201 West Howard Lane, Austin, Texas 78753. The mailing address will not change (DSHS TB/HIV/STD Section, Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873, Austin, Texas 78714). Please do not send deliveries to the new physical address until the location is staffed.

    May 22: Fax and phone numbers for the HIV/STD Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch will change.

    May 29: Fax and phone numbers for the Texas HIV Medication Program and Tuberculosis and Hansen's Disease Branch will change.

    Unchanged by the move: Section staff email addresses. Section web addresses. The Texas HIV Medication Program 1-800 number.

    Stakeholders will be informed of the changed phone and fax information directly by DSHS staff. To learn more, contact Section staff, call the current Section phone number 512-533-3000, or email the section.  

    Posted May 06, 2020


    ATTENTION SUBMITTERS

    CHECK THE EXPIRATION DATE ON

    DSHS SNAP-APART FILTER PAPER CARDS

     

    DSHS Snap-Apart filter paper cards, with lot number W161 (blue ink),

    EXPIRE on April 30, 2020.

    These cards are used for Hemoglobin Electrophoresis, PKU monitoring, and DNA testing.

    Specimens collected on these cards after April 30, 2020 will be REJECTED.

     What to do next:

    • Discard any remaining cards after 4/30/2020.
    • To order more DSHS Snap Apart Filter Paper Cards:

    Posted April 15, 2020


    Notice regarding COVID-19 testing at the DSHS Austin Laboratory

    As of Monday, April 13, 2020, the Texas DSHS Austin Laboratory will begin utilizing the PerkinElmer New Coronavirus Nucleic Acid Detection Kit and chemagic extraction platform to expand capacity for COVID-19 testing.  The CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel will continue to be available until current supply resources are exhausted.

    • Acceptable specimens include:

    o   Nasopharyngeal (NP) or oropharyngeal (OP) swabs, combined NP/OP swabs, and nasal swabs in Viral Transport Media (VTM), Universal Transport Media (UTM), liquid Amies media, and sterile saline.

    ****Please continue to use the COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions for specimen collection, handling, and shipping guidance.****

    ALL specimens for COVID-19 testing require preapproval.   Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) to ensure patient meets Patient Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet DSHS PUI criteria prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval.  Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

    For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

    https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

    Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

    DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center:  2-1-1 Option 6 
    Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week  

    Posted April 6, 2020


    Notice regarding the impacts of COVID-19 response to the DSHS Austin Laboratory


    Due to ongoing DSHS Laboratory COVID-19 response efforts, the following microbiological testing areas may experience delays in laboratory results reporting, effective April 1, 2020:

    Fungal isolate identification*

    Parasitology identification*

    Influenza surveillance testing

    Mosquito surveillance testing

    Gonorrhea/Chlamydia/Hepatitis C specimen testing

    *Specimens for Candida auris testing and for malaria testing will not be affected and will follow regular testing schedules. 


    In addition, testing for foodborne outbreak investigations, including whole genome sequencing, for Listeria will continue but testing for Salmonella, Escherichia coli and other foodborne bacteria will be upon epidemiologist request only. 

    An updated notification will be issued when routine laboratory testing resumes.

    For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

    https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

    Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov 

    DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center: 1-877-570-9779 
    Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week 

    Posted April 2, 2020


    COVID-19 and Newborn Screening

    During this time of extraordinary challenge, the DSHS Newborn Screening (NBS) Program appreciates the dedication and commitment of healthcare providers to ensure the best possible outcomes for Texas newborns.

     

    Q: Has DSHS altered guidance for collection of newborn screens?

    A: No. The 1st newborn screen should be collected between 24 - 48 hours of age, or before hospital discharge. The 2nd newborn screen should be collected on every infant at 1-2 weeks of age.

    DSHS recognizes that healthcare providers may require adjustments to newborn screening protocols. 

    Completely and accurately fill out all information requested on the collection kits.

    Incomplete or inaccurate demographic information can result in specimen rejection, incorrect results, or delay in initiation of follow-up on out of range results.

    Ensure parent contact information (phone number and address) is current.

    Advise parent to select a pediatrician and attempt to make the first appointment prior to leaving the hospital. Enter pediatrician contact information on the collection kit.

     

    Q: What if a parent is requesting early discharge to socially isolate themselves and their newborn?

    A: Collect the first screen immediately prior to discharge.

     

    Q: For 2nd screens, what if our facility is unable to provide a location to collect the specimen?

    A: If necessary, explore the availability of other collection locations such as an outpatient clinic or reference laboratory.  If no alternative can be identified, ensure a screen is collected as soon as can be safely scheduled.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends pediatricians continue to see newborns and infants for preventive care. AAP CoVID-19 guidance includes:

    • Delaying care for newborns and other vulnerable children during this time could have devastating consequences for their health.
    • Be flexible to determine the best way to schedule patient visits to minimize the risk, including spacing out visits, modifying clinical space, or rescheduling visits for older children until a later date.
    • Pediatricians may choose to limit well visits to early morning while reserving the remainder of the day for sick visits.
    • Pediatricians are encouraged to dedicate specific rooms for sick visits and well visits; or for those with multiple practice sites to consider using one office location to see all well visits (staffed by those in higher risk categories).  

    Q: What if a 2nd screen cannot be collected in the recommended timeframe of 7-14 days of age?

    A: Collect the 2nd screen as soon as conditions allow. This ensures the earliest possible interventions for affected babies.  DSHS does not reject specimens collected on older children, but NBS testing methodologies have been designed to minimize the number of false negative and false positive results in newborns and young infants.

       

    Q: What if the 1st screen was out of range or unsatisfactory?

    It is imperative to ensure that another screen is collected for newborns with an out of range or unsatisfactory 1st screen. Having an unsatisfactory screen is like not being screened at all. In some situations, newborns with out of range first screens may not require diagnostic evaluation if a second screen is normal.

     

    Q: What if the parent refuses the 2nd screen?

    A: Parents can only refuse to have their child screened if the screening conflicts with a parent’s religious tenets or practices (see Texas Health & Safety Code Sec. 33.012). To refuse, a parent must sign a form stating he/she has a religious objection to newborn screening. Points to consider before refusing a second newborn screening:

    • DSHS has implemented a two-screen system to maximize the effectiveness of testing for all disorders on the Texas Newborn Screening Panel.
    • The second screen routinely detects babies at risk for severe medical complications. These babies sometimes have a normal first screen.
    • Some disorders (like cystic fibrosis) rely upon both newborn screens to reduce the number of babies who would otherwise require additional testing with a specialist to determine whether they have the condition or not.  

    Q: Our facility has new staff assisting with specimen collection and out of range result follow-up coordination. What resources are available for quality assurance?

    A: Healthcare provider guidance on specimen collection, transport and result reporting can be found at: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/nbsHCRes.shtm 

     

    Please completely and accurately fill out all information requested on the collection kits. Incomplete or inaccurate demographic information can result in specimen rejection, incorrect results, or delay in initiation of follow-up on out of range results.


    Questions? 

    Corona Virus in Texas:

    https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/


    Newborn Screening Laboratory:

    1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333

    NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

     

    Clinical Care Coordination:

    1-888-963-7111 ext. 3957 or 512-776-3957

    Newborn@dshs.texas.gov

    Posted March 27, 2020


    Notice regarding testing and submission of specimens for COVID-19 testing to the DSHS Austin Laboratory

     

    As of March 20, 2020, the Texas DSHS Laboratory has made the following changes to the COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions located on the DSHS Laboratory website. 

    1.This document applies only to the DSHS Austin Laboratory.  For information regarding submission to other Public Health Laboratories in Texas, contact your local health department.

    2.   We recommend sending only a single Nasopharyngeal swab in VTM.  Please see additional language under the section, “Specimen Types”.

    3.   A sample G-2V submission has been added to clarify instructions to fill out the form.  Sample G-2V.pdf

    ALL specimens for COVID-19 testing require preapproval.   Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) to ensure patient meets Patient Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet DSHS PUI criteria and have a state specific PUI identification number for testing prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval.  Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

    For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

    https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

    Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

    DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center: 2-1-1 Option 6
    Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week 

    Posted March 20, 2020


    Notice regarding testing and submission of specimens for COVID-19 testing

     

    As of March 5, 2020, the Texas DSHS Laboratory is accepting specimens per the criteria outlined in the COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions document found at COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions

    ALL specimens for 2019 nCoV testing require preapproval.   Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) to ensure patient meets Person Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet PUI criteria and have a state specific PUI identification number for testing prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval.  Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

    For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

    https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

    Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

    DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center: 1-877-570-9779 Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., 7 days  a week

    Posted March 5, 2020


    Update - Newborn Screening for Hemoglobinopathies


    Reporting of Hemoglobin D, one of the hemoglobins detected in the newborn screen for Hemoglobinopathies, was discontinued on 10/28/2019 due to unavailability of needed control material.  That material is now available.  Therefore, effective as of 02/03/2020, specimens showing possible Hemoglobin D during testing, will be reported as “Hemoglobin D”.

    Posted February 06, 2020 


    Notice – Change to Newborn Screening Hemoglobinopathy Test

    Due to issues with obtaining quality control material from our manufacturer, effective 02/03/2020, “Hemoglobin G” will no longer be reported. Specimens showing possible Hemoglobin G during testing will be reported as “Other” hemoglobin variant. If the manufacturer is able to provide quality control material in the future, we will return to being able to report out the Hemoglobin G result.

    Posted January 28, 2020


    2020 IS HERE!

    Wrong dates will delay Newborn Screening (NBS) specimen testing or cause specimen REJECTION.

       How to help avoid NBS testing delays and specimen rejection: 

    • Ensure dates (including year) are complete and accurate.
    • Assign staff to double check that all
      specimen information is:
      • Complete
      • Accurate
      • Legible
    • Respond to DSHS staff requests for clarifying information. 

    Example of correct date and time format:

    NBS Time and Date 2020

     

    Questions?                                                          

    Call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

    Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.state.tx.us

     

    Posted January 07, 2020


     

    Newborn Screening Fee Increase Information and January 2020 Order Form


    Q: When does the increase start?

    A: The fee increases on January 1, 2020.

    Q: What is the new cost of insurance/self-pay kit?

    A: The new cost for each insurance/self-pay test kit is $60.58.

    Q: Why is the fee increasing?

    A: The Texas Newborn Screening (NBS) Panel has expanded to include X-linked Adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD). The increase will cover the additional costs for laboratory and follow-up services.

    Q: What order form should be used to order NBS kits?

    A: Use the January 2020 order form that has the new price of $60.58 listed. (G6D)

    Q: Can an order request be filled using the old order form?

    A: No, only order requests submitted on the January 2020 order form will be processed.


    Questions?

    NBS Testing:

    1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333

    NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov


    Order Request Information:

    1-888-963-7111 ext. 7661 or 512-776-7661

    ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

    Posted January 02, 2020 


    2020 is Approaching Fast!


    Wrong dates will delay Newborn Screening specimen testing or cause specimen REJECTION.

    Avoid Delays and Specimen Rejection.

    When entering newborn screening demographic information:

    • Ensure dates (including year) are complete and accurate. 
    • Assign staff to double check that all specimen information is:
      • Complete
      • Accurate
      • Legible
    • Respond to DSHS staff requests for clarifying information. 

    For questions or comments:                               

    Call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or locally 512-776-7333

    Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.state.tx.us

    Posted December 17, 2019


    Newborn Screening Insurance/Self-pay Kit Fee Increase


    Q. When does the increase start?

    A. January 1, 2020.

    Q: What is the new cost of insurance/self-pay kit?

    A: The new cost for each insurance/self-pay test kit is $60.58.

    Q: Why is the fee increasing?

    A: The Texas Newborn Screening Panel has expanded to include X-linked Adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD). The increase will cover the additional costs for laboratory and follow-up services.

    Q: Who pays for the insurance/self-pay kits?

    A: DSHS will bill the healthcare provider that orders insurance/self-pay test kits. 

    • Tips for choosing and using the correct kit:
      • Use the Insurance/Self-Pay Kit (form #NBS4) for newborns covered under a private insurance plan or paying out of pocket. 
      • ONLY use the Medicaid/CHIP/Charity Kit (form #NBS3) for newborns Medicaid eligible, covered by CHIP, or that have absolutely no other payment option (as required in Texas Administrative Code, Title 25 Section 37.55).

    Q: What steps do providers take for reimbursement of the newborn screening test kit cost?

    A: 

    1) Contact each health plan or insurance company to update your facility contracts. 

    2) Verify that Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code S3620 is updated to match the current cost for the screening kit.

    3) Submit newborn screening claims using HCPCS code S3620.

    Notes:

    • HCPCS Code S3620: Newborn metabolic screening panel includes the test kit and the laboratory tests specified by the state for inclusion in this panel. The healthcare provider may be responsible for additional costs not included in the cost of the test kit such as preparing and shipping the specimen to the DSHS Laboratory.
    • CPT code 36416: Collection of capillary blood specimen, may also be used.

    Q: What can be done if the correct reimbursement is not received?

    A:

    1) Contact the health plan or insurance company to seek resolution.

    2) If no resolution is identified:

    • For Texas Regulated Health Plans (Fully Insured and HMOs), contact:

    Texas Department of Insurance.

    https://www.tdi.texas.gov/hprovider/providercompl.html or 1-800-252-3439

    • Self-Funded Plans regulated at the federal level (Most people who have health insurance in Texas have a self-funded plan), contact:

    U. S. Department of Labor
    Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries

    PWBA N5619

    200 Constitution Ave. NW
    Washington DC 20210
    1-866-444-3272

    • If insurance is provided by a school district, city, county or state government, a union, or church, work directly with the health plan.

    Note: DSHS does not control how insurance companies operate or the reimbursement rates that are set. 

    Questions?

    1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333

    NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

    Posted December 13, 2019



    Laboratory Christmas and New Year Holiday Closure Reminders

     

    Newborn Screening Laboratory (NBS)

    Christmas Holiday Closed Dates: Dec. 25 – Dec. 26

    • The NBS Laboratory will test specimens received and accessioned on Dec. 24.
    • Healthcare providers may be notified of critical level preliminary presumptive positive results on Dec. 25.
    • NBS testing will resume on Dec. 27.

    New Year’s Holiday Closed Date: Jan. 1

    • The NBS Laboratory will test specimens received and accessioned on Dec. 31.
    • NBS testing will resume on Jan. 2.

    Reminders:

    • DO NOT delay collection or shipment of NBS specimens.
    • Specimens must be dried prior to shipment and should arrive at the DSHS Laboratory within 24 hours after collection or as soon as possible. If mail or courier services are unavailable, ship as quickly as possible.

     

    Clinical Chemistry Laboratory

    Christmas Holiday Closed Dates: Dec. 24 – Dec. 26

    • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid, cholesterol, and creatinine specimens must be received by Dec. 23 to complete testing before the Christmas holiday.
    • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid panel, glucose, or creatinine specimens Dec. 23 – Dec. 27.

    New Year’s Holiday Closed Date: Jan. 1

    • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid, cholesterol, and creatinine specimens must be received by Dec. 31 to complete testing before the New Year’s holiday.
    • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid panel, glucose, or creatinine specimens on Dec. 31.

    Reminders:

    • Lead and total hemoglobin specimens must be received within 14 days of collection.

    https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/MRS_labtests_toc.shtm

     

    Microbiology Testing Notices

    Christmas Holiday Closed Dates: Dec. 24 – Dec. 26

    New Year’s Holiday Closed Date: Jan. 1

    Rabies Laboratory

    • Shipping by Greyhound Bus is highly recommended during weekends and holidays.

    Christmas

    • Rabies specimens received by 8 a.m. on Dec. 23 will be tested.
      • Positive results will be called out before 5 p.m.
    • Specimens received between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Dec. 23, will be tested on Dec. 24.
      •  Positive results will be called out by noon.
      •  Negative results will be available on Dec. 27.
    • Specimens received after 3 p.m. on Dec. 23 through 8 a.m. Dec. 27 will be tested Dec. 27.
      • Results will be called out before 5 p.m.
    • Specimens received after 8 a.m. Dec. 27, and all specimens that arrive over the weekend will be tested Dec. 30.
      • Results will be called out before 5 p.m.

    New Years

    • Specimens received between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Dec. 31 will be tested on Jan. 1.
      • Positive results will be called out by noon.
      • Negative results will be available on Jan. 2.
    • Specimens received after 3 p.m. on Dec. 31 and before 8 a.m. on Jan. 2 will be tested on Jan. 2.
      • Results will be called out before 5 p.m.
    • Emergency testing is available on Dec. 24, Dec. 26, Dec. 28 and Jan. 2 by arrangement with laboratory personnel (512-776-7595).
      • Specimen receipt must be guaranteed by 8 a.m. on the day of testing.

    Viral Isolation Laboratory 

    • DO NOT ship specimens for delivery Dec. 24 through Dec. 26. 
      • Store specimens collected during this time at -70°C or below.
      • Ship specimens on dry ice for delivery on Dec. 27.
    • DO NOT ship specimens for delivery Dec. 31 through Jan. 1. 
      • Store specimens collected during this time at -70°C or below.
      • Ship specimens on dry ice for delivery on Jan. 2.

    Mycobacteriology/Mycology Laboratory

    • To receive expedited AFB Smear and NAA for M. tuberculosis test results before the Christmas holiday:
      • Ensure specimens are delivered to the laboratory by 8 a.m. on Dec. 23.
      • For expedited test requests call 512-776-7342.
    • DO NOT ship specimens Dec. 23 through Dec. 25.
      • Store collected specimens in the refrigerator and ship for delivery on Dec. 27. 
    • DO NOT ship specimens to be delivered on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1. 
      • Store collected specimens in refrigerator and ship for delivery on Jan. 2.

    Serology Laboratory

    • DO NOT ship specimens Dec. 23 through Dec. 25.
      • Serum should be separated from the clot and frozen.
      • Ship with sufficient dry ice to keep serum frozen for delivery on Dec. 27. 
    • DO NOT ship specimens to be delivered on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1. 
      • Serum should be separated from the clot and frozen.
      • Ship with sufficient dry ice to keep serum frozen for delivery on Jan. 2.

    Advanced Molecular Microbiology Laboratory

    • DO NOT ship specimens for CPO colonization testing to be received the following dates:
      • Dec. 23 through Dec. 27
      • Dec. 31 through Jan. 1
    • DO NOT ship specimens for other bacteria testing to be received the following dates:
      • Dec. 24 through Dec. 26
      • Dec. 31 through Jan. 1

    Bacteriology Water Samples

    • Water samples will not be accepted the following dates:
      • Dec. 23 through Dec. 27
      • Dec. 31 through Jan. 1

    Supply Order Requests

    • Priority overnight shipping requests received on or before Dec. 20 will be processed as normal.
    • Requests received by noon on Dec. 23 will be sent FedEx Ground.
    • Requests received after noon on Dec. 23 through Dec. 26 will be processed on Dec. 27.
    • Requests received on Dec. 27 will be processed Dec. 30.

    Contact the Texas DSHS Laboratory:

    Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7318 or for local calls 512-776-7318

    Email: LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov

    Posted November 1, 2019


    Result Report Delay Notice

    Beginning November 12, 2019, the DSHS Laboratory has delayed reporting of results for a small subset of newborn screening specimens due to testing instrument issues.

    All previously reported results are considered accurate and not affected by this issue.

    Mitigating steps have been completed and all delayed results are expected by November 22.

    What specimens are affected?

    Specimens received at the laboratory on or after November 8, 2019, which required additional second tier testing for X-ALD only. This was approximately three percent of specimens received or ~ 600 blood spots.

    How does this impact newborn screening test results?

    • Testing for all other newborn screening disorders has not
    Last updated November 18, 2022