Spinal Screening Program

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The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Spinal Screening Program was established by the Texas Legislature to detect abnormal spinal curvature in students. The program is required to adopt rules as mandated by the statute.

School-based spinal screening helps to identify adolescents with abnormal spinal curves and refer them for appropriate follow-up by their primary care physician. Screening can detect scoliosis at an early stage, when the curve is mild and may go unnoticed. Early detection is key to controlling spinal deformities.

Spinal Screening Changes to be Implemented During the 2018-2019 School Year 

The Governor signed House Bill (HB) 1076, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, which allows for consideration of the most recent nationally accepted and peer-reviewed scientific research in determining the appropriate ages for conducting the spinal screening. The bill amends Health and Safety Code, Chapter 37, Abnormal Spinal Curvature. HB 1076 becomes effective on September 1, 2017, and implementation will occur during the 2018-19 school year.

Schools must follow the rules currently in effect for the 2017-2018 school year, which require schools to conduct spinal screenings for children in grades 6 and 9, following screening procedures recommended by the national standards set by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). View the current spinal screening procedures rules. 

Proposed Rules to be Published for Public Comment

The proposed rules will be posted for public comment in the Texas Register on September 8, 2017. Written comments on the proposed rules may be submitted:

  • in writing to Elijah Brown, Vision, Hearing, and Spinal Screening, Public Health Screening and Services Coordination Section, Department of State Health Services, P.O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas 78714-9347;
  • by fax to (512) 776-7414; or
  • by email to vhssprogram@dshs.texas.gov

within 30 days of publication of this proposal in the Texas Register. When faxing or e-mailing comments, please indicate "Comments on Proposed Rule 25R049” in the subject line.

Contact Us

Texas Department of State Health Services 
Spinal Screening Program - Mail Code 1818
PO Box 149347 | Austin, Texas 78714-9347
1100 West 49th Street | Austin, Texas 78756-3199
Phone: 512-776-7420 | Toll Free 1-800-252-8023, extension 7420 
Fax: 512-776-7256 
Email: vhssprogram@dshs.texas.gov

Last updated August 30, 2017