Austin Laboratory Correspondence and Bulletins

See also South Texas Laboratory Correspondence and Bulletins


DSHS Laboratory Updates for February 2, 2023

The DSHS Laboratory will resume operations on February 2, 2023 at 1:00 pm.

All samples will be processed as soon as possible once operations resume. However, samples received outside of their acceptability window will be unsatisfactory for testing.

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

Contact DSHS Laboratory:
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 1, 2023


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.

  • The DSHS Laboratory will be closed on Wednesday, February 01, 2023, due to inclement weather in the Austin area.
  • Please continue to ship all samples per regular guidelines.
  • Courier services may experience delays due to the weather. Please 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.

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

Contact DSHS Laboratory:
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

Re-Posted January 31, 2023


DSHS Laboratory Website Upgrade

The Texas Department of State Health Services Website has changed platforms. As a result of these changes, there may be missing or broken links. As we work through the remaining issues, we appreciate your patience. 

In the meantime, if there is any information or documents needed, please feel free to reach out to the appropriate department. 

Need help?
Contact DSHS Laboratory:

Newborn Screening Inquiries: (512) 776-7333
Microbiology Inquiries: (512) 776-7599
Clinical Chemistry 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 January 26, 2023


Potential for Delayed Laboratory Test Results has been Resolved

The Department of State Health Services Laboratory was experiencing a mechanical failure with the reverse osmosis/deionized water purification system. This issue has been resolved. There is no longer a concern for potential delayed laboratory test results due to this issue.

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 December 16, 2022


Christmas and New Year Holidays Laboratory Closure Reminders

The DSHS Austin Laboratory will be closed from Saturday 12/24/2022 to Monday 12/26/2022. Testing will not be performed on these days, with limited exceptions. Exceptions include Newborn Screening and Rabies testing, which will be performed on Saturday 12/24/2022
Testing will not be affected by the New Year’s Day holiday 01/01/2023, as it falls on a Sunday. See below for more details.

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

Newborn Screening (NBS)

Christmas Holiday Closure: Monday 12/26/2022

  • NBS specimens received and accessioned on Saturday, 12/24/2022 will be tested immediately. 
  • The NBS Laboratory will be closed Monday, 12/26/22 in observance of the holiday.
  • NBS testing will resume on Tuesday, 12/27/22.

Reminders: 

  • DO NOT delay collection or shipment of newborn screening specimens during the holiday periods.
  • Ship dried specimens within 24 hours of collection. If mail or courier services are unavailable, ship as soon as possible.
    • DSHS recommends using an overnight or trackable service like USPS Priority Mail, FedEx, UPS, etc. to ship specimens to the Laboratory.

Clinical Chemistry

Christmas Holiday Closure: Saturday 12/24/2022 – Monday 12/26/2022

  • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid panel, cholesterol, and creatinine specimens must be received by Friday, 12/23/2022 to complete testing prior to the Christmas holiday
  • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid panel, glucose, or creatinine specimens between Friday 12/23/22 and Sunday 12/25/22.

Reminders:

  • Specimens submitted for lead and total hemoglobin testing must be received within 14 days of collection.
  • Specimens submitted for glucose, lipid panel, cholesterol, and creatinine testing must be received according to the specimen submission guidelines available at 
    https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/MRS_labtests_toc.shtm

Rabies Specimens:

   Note: Ship chilled rabies specimens by courier, or hand deliver to the Laboratory’s specimen receiving bay. 

  • Rabies specimens received before 8:00 a.m. Friday, 12/23/2022 will be tested the same day. 
    • Results will be available by 5:00 p.m.  
  • Rabies specimens received after 8:00 a.m. Friday, 12/23/2022 will be tested on Saturday 12/24/2022. 
    • Submitters of positive results will be notified by 12:00 p.m. Preliminary results will be available by 12:00 p.m. if requested.  
    • Final results will be available to submitters on Tuesday, 12/27/2022 by 5:00 p.m.
  • All other specimens will be tested on Tuesday, 12/27/2022
  • Contact lab personnel at (512) 776-7595 to arrange emergency testing on Saturday, 12/24/2022 or Monday, 12/26/2022. Submitters must coordinate with laboratory personnel for approval by 4:00 p.m. the previous day. 
    Specimen receipt by 8:00 a.m. must be guaranteed to ensure same day testing and preliminary results. 

Tuberculosis (TB) Specimens: 

  • Critical specimens for AFB Smear and NAA testing must be received by 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, 12/22/2022 for expedited AFB Smear and NAA test results before the Christmas holiday.
  • DO NOT ship specimens for delivery on Friday, 12/23/2022 through Monday, 12/26/2022.
    • Keep specimens in refrigerated storage until shipment.  

  Note: Contact TB lab personnel at (512) 776-7342 before 9:00 a.m. Friday, 12/23/2022 for expedited test requests.

Bacteriology Water Samples:

  • Water samples will NOT be accepted for testing on Monday 12/26/2022.

All Other Microbiology Specimens or Samples:

  • Do not ship specimens for delivery or testing between Saturday, 12/24/2022 and Monday, 12/26/2022. Store specimens collected during this time at an appropriate temperature, e.g. -70°C, or below for clinical virology samples.
  • No testing will be performed from Saturday, 12/24/2022 through Monday, 12/26/2022.

Ordering Laboratory Supplies:

Newborn Screening Medicaid/Paid Card Order Requests

  • Priority overnight shipping requests received on 12/22/2022 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight.
  • All requests received before noon on 12/23/2022 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received after noon on 12/23/2022 through 12/26/2022 and will be sent on Tuesday 12/27/2022.
  • No delays are anticipated over the New Years’ holiday as New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday.

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

  • All requests received on 12/22/2022 will be audited, issued, and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received on 12/23/2022 will be audited, issued, and shipped via FedEx Ground on Tuesday 12/27/2022.
  • Requests received on 12/23/2022 will be audited, issued, and shipped on Monday 12/27/2022 via FedEx Ground.

***Per FedEx website, FedEx Express will have reduced services Friday 12/23/2022 and will be closed Saturday 12/24/2022 and Sunday 12/25/2022. Reduces Express delivery services will be in effect Friday 12/30/22 and Saturday 12/31/2022. Express delivery will be closed Sunday 01/01/2023 and Monday 01/01/2023. ***

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 December 07, 2022


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 holida
  • 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 afternoo
  • 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 (/lab/Lab-Renovation/2022-Laboratory-Renovation)


Posted October 27, 2022


Request for the Return of Surplus Plastic Liner Containers

 

DSHS Austin Laboratory – Microbiological Sciences and Clinical Chemistry Notice

Due to ongoing supply shortages, the DSHS Austin Laboratory requests submitters who receive shipping supplies from the lab to return any surplus or unused hard-sided inner liner tubes (examples shown below). There’s no cost to you to return the liner tubes. A business reply label will be provided, so your postage is paid!

Alternatively, you may return your spare liners in your next cold box shipment to the lab.
These liner tubes are provided by the Laboratory to participants in the Texas Health Steps program, TB screening and surveillance programs, and submitters who receive cold box containers. The liners are the property of the State of Texas and should be used only for shipping specimens classified as Category B Biological Substances to the laboratory. Submitters who receive these shipping supplies are required to return any unused or extra containers.

The DSHS Laboratory appreciates the dedication and commitment of healthcare providers to ensure the best possible health outcomes for all Texans. Thank you!
 

Questions about Returning Shipping Containers? 

Contact:
Container Preparation Group 
Call: (512) 776-7661
Email: ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

Specimen Acquisition Group
Call:
 (512) 776-7598


Austin Laboratory Addresses:
USPS (Preprinted Business Reply Labels Only)

Texas Department of State Health Services
Laboratory Services Section 
P.O. Box 149347
Austin TX 78714-9347


For Overnight/Priority Courier Shipping (FedEx, UPS, or LSO Cold Box Specimens)

Texas Department of State Health Services
Laboratory Services Section
1100 W. 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756-3199