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.

Current rules will be amended to comply with the new law. Until then, 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 rule. 

Spinal Screening Program Rules: Informal Rule Review through July 21, 2017

The Spinal Screening Program at the Department of State Health Services (DSHS), would like to request your informal review of the proposed rule revision related to spinal screening (pdf), in accordance with House Bill (HB) 1076, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017. The current rule can be found in the Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 37, Subchapter G.

HB 1076 removes the grade requirement for spinal screening and allows for consideration of the most recent nationally accepted peer-reviewed scientific research for determining when to conduct spinal screening. The most recent joint position statement from the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS), American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America (POSNA) and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) believe that screening examinations for spine deformity should be part of the medical home preventative services visit for females at age 10 and 12 years, and males once at age 13 or 14 years. School spinal screening programs will abide by the same age recommendations.

Additionally, HB 1076 requires, by rule, DSHS, in coordination with Texas Education Agency, to develop a process to notify parents of the spinal screening procedure, methodology, risk if declined, and how to decline the spinal screening.

Please submit all comments to monica.molina@dshs.texas.gov by close of business on Friday, July 21, 2017.

Sign up for email updates to be notified when the proposed rules will be posted for public comment in the Texas Registrar.

Contact Us

Texas Department of State Health Services 
Spinal Screening Program - Mail Code 1938
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 July 27, 2017