Clinical Chemistry Notices

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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


Blood Lead Testing

Methodology and Reference Value Change

The DSHS Blood Lead Testing laboratory will transition to the Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICPMS) methodology on January 25, 2023.  

The DSHS blood lead reference value (BLRV) will change from 5.0 μg/dL to 3.5 μg/dL as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC updates blood lead reference value | Lead | CDC).

These changes do not impact the collection or submission of specimens for blood lead screening.

For questions, please contact the DSHS Laboratory:
Call toll-free:  1-888- 963-7111 ext. 6236 or local, call: 512-776-6236
Email Clinical Chemistry: clinicalchemistry@dshs.texas.gov

Posted January 25, 2022


****Effective Immediately****

Gonorrhea/Chlamydia Testing Information

The DSHS Laboratory will temporarily send Gonorrhea/Chlamydia Amplified RNA probe specimens received for patients younger than 14 years-of-age to the Quest Diagnostics Laboratory for testing.

Results will be reported from the DSHS Laboratory but will include an additional attached report displaying the Quest testing laboratory’s results.

Submitters should continue following their current processes for submitting Gonorrhea/Chlamydia specimens to the DSHS Laboratory.

For more information on THSteps laboratory requirements for tests within the Texas Health Steps Periodicity Schedule, please go to THSteps Medical Checkup Laboratory Requirements (texas.gov)

For questions or comments:

Call toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 6236 or for local call 512-776-6236

Email: ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov

Posted December 22, 2022

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


Potential for Delayed Laboratory Test Results 

The Department of State Health Services Laboratory is currently experiencing a mechanical failure with the reverse osmosis/deionized water purification system. This water is required for many tests in the laboratory, and therefore, some results may be delayed. 

The laboratory is currently working to resolve this issue with plans to be back to normal operation by December 13, 2022.

Once the mechanical failure is repaired, additional communications will be sent out.

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 09, 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

 


Clinical Chemistry Submitters

The New Year, 2023, will be here soon!

All Dates (month, day, and year) must be recorded accurately. 

Be mindful of the year change.  Verify the Date of Collection on the specimen submission form and specimen accurately reflects the new year to avoid delay in testing and specimen rejection.

The DSHS Laboratory cannot make corrections to any dates or information on a specimen. Corrections can only be made on the submission form but will need confirmation from the healthcare provider.

To avoid testing delays or specimen rejections, please respond promptly to any DSHS fax and telephone requests for clarification on patient information.

For questions, contact the Texas DSHS Clinical Chemistry Laboratory:

Toll free:  1-888-963-7111 ext. 6236

Local calls:  512-776-6236

Email: ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov

For previous notices, visit http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/cc_notices.shtm

Posted December 05, 2022


NOTICE: Expiring Blood Collection Tubes


Type of Tube: 500 µL Purple Top Capillary MAP Tube (K2EDTA)

Lot #: 1165947

Expiration Date: 12/31/2022

Specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected!

What to do next:

  • Review your stock, discard any expired tubes
  • To order new supplies, fax order to (512) 776-7672

For questions call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 6236.

To see previous notices, please visit http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/cc_notices.shtm

Posted December 05, 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 plastic inner liner tubes. 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


Posted September 27, 2022


Beat the Summer Heat: Tips on How to Package Temperature-Sensitive Specimens to Keep Them Cold in Transit  

DSHS Austin Laboratory – Microbiological Sciences and Clinical Chemistry Branch Notice


The DSHS Austin Laboratory reminds submitters to pack temperature-sensitive specimens with enough refrigerant to keep them frozen or cold for up to 48 hours to account for the hot Texas summers and elevated temperatures in transport vehicles. 

Several specimen types, including whole blood, plasma, serum, stool, exudate, rabies, and several clinical and environmental swabs specimens require cold shipping to the laboratory. Specimens that need to be shipped cold but arrive at the lab at ambient temperature are deemed to be unacceptable and may not be testable. 

Tips on packing and shipping temperature-sensitive specimens:

  • Ship temperature sensitive specimens overnight to the DSHS laboratory as soon as possible after collection. 
  • Identify the appropriate refrigerant for the specimen (e.g., dry ice, frozen gel packs, ice packs, or wet ice).
  • Pack specimen with enough refrigerant to keep it cold for up to 48 hours to account for the possibility of delays in delivery to the lab, particularly during the hot Texas summer temperatures
  • Pack remaining gaps in the container with additional absorbent insulation (such as newspaper, paper towels, cotton wadding, etc.) to reduce the volume and movement of warm air within the container. Minimizing open space in containers will keep contents colder for longer.
  • Do NOT ship for a weekend or holiday delivery; specimens are accepted during regular business hours only* (Mon. – Fri. 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.). Alternatively, keep specimen chilled until it can be delivered on a weekday.

*Saturday delivery of rabies specimens for same day testing is available in emergency situations only. Specimens must arrive at lab before 8:00 a.m. for same-day results. The rabies lab must first be notified by phone or email about a specimen submission. Call the Rabies Notification line at 1-800-252-8163 (toll free) or complete the Electronic Rabies Specimen Submission Notification Form.

The DSHS Laboratory staff thank you for your assistance with optimizing specimen submission and testing processes!

Additional Submission and Shipping Guidance Is Available

Antibiotic Resistance Lab Network Refer to specimen preparation and submission guidelines for carbapenem resistant organisms and Candida spp
Arbovirus Specimen Submitters: Refer to specimen packaging and shipping guidance at Arbovirus Field Surveillance Techniques.
Clinical Specimen Submitters: Refer to the appropriate test description in the LTSM’s Microbiology Test list for shipping and specimen handling requirements.

Food Sample Submitters: Refer to the food sample packaging and shipping instructions on the Consumer Microbiology Lab’s webpage

Rabies Specimen Submitters: Refer to specimen handling and shipping guidance on the Rabies Lab’s webpage

Questions about Shipping or Specimen Packaging/Container? 
Please call Specimen Receiving at (512) 776-7598
 

Laboratory Shipping Address

For Overnight/Priority Shipping 

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

Posted August 4, 2022


NOTICE: Expiring Blood Collection Tubes


Type of Tube: 500 µL Purple Top Capillary MAP Tube (K2EDTA)

Lot #: 1040046

Expiration Date: 08/31/2022

Specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected!

What to do next:
• Review your stock, discard any expired tubes
• To order new supplies, fax order to (512) 776-7672

For questions call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 6236.

To see previous notices, please visit /lab/cc_notices.shtm

Posted : August 2, 2022


Labeling Guidelines for Texas Health Steps
Hemoglobin and Blood Lead Specimens


All primary specimen containers must be clearly and legibly labeled with at least two patient-specific identifiers. The two identifiers on the specimen submission form must match exactly with the two identifiers on the specimen tube. Unidentified or improperly labeled specimens can delay testing and cause the specimens to be rejected.

Examples of Patient Labels

Name Bar code  Name CCC 

 

Download the Labeling Guidelines for Hemoglobin and Blood Lead Specimens for:

  • Demonstrations of correct labeled specimens
  • Tips on how to meet the 2 ID requirement 

For Questions, contact clinicalchemistry@dshs.texas.gov

Posted : July 1, 2022


Tips for Shipping Whole Blood and Serum Specimens

As the temperature begins to rise, the Department of State Health Services Laboratory reminds all submitters of the following tips.

For Submitters that ship whole blood specimens through the US Postal Service:

  • Drop off specimens inside the Post Office.
  • Avoid leaving specimens in locations that are subject to high temperatures (i.e., metal lockboxes or mailboxes).
  • Consider shipping specimens overnight with enough cold packs using a courier service.
  • Do not freeze whole blood specimens

For Submitters that ship serum specimens through a courier service:

  • Serum only samples for dyslipidemia and diabetes may be frozen and shipped overnight via courier
  • Do NOT freeze serum separator tubes (SST) with serum samples.
    • Serum must be separated and placed into a transport tube before freezing. 
    • Place enough cold packs/dry ice to ensure samples remain cold/frozen throughout shipment.

Do not ship serum specimens on Fridays or the day before federal holidays.
For questions regarding this notice, please email

ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov.
 

Posted : June 1, 2022


NOTICE: Expiring Blood Collection Tubes

Type of Tube: 6mL Red Top Serum Tube (Silicone Coated)

Lot #: 03511968

Expiration Date: 05/31/2022

Specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected!

What to do next:
• Review your stock and discard expired tubes.
• To order new supplies, fax order to (512) 776-7672

For questions call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 6236.

To see previous notices, please visit /lab/cc_notices.shtm

Posted : May 16, 2022


NOTICE: Expiring Blood Collection Tubes

Type of Tube: 6mL Red Top Serum Tube (Silicone Coated)
Lot #: 03511968
Expiration Date: 05/31/2022

Specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected!

What to do next:
• Review your stock and discard expired tubes.
• To order new supplies, fax order to (512) 776-7672
For questions call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 6236.
To see previous notices, please visit /lab/cc_notices.shtm

Posted : May 02, 2022


Tips to Prevent Clotted Specimens

The number one reason for rejection of whole blood specimens is clotting. Clotting can happen during or immediately after specimen collection due to insufficient mixing and slow draw time.

Tips for preventing clotted specimens:

  • Invert the blood collection tube 8-10 times to ensure the blood is in contact with the anticoagulant inside of the collection tube.
  • Collect the required volume within 2 minutes.
  • Occasionally tap the capillary tube while collecting the blood specimen.
  • Avoid squeezing, milking, or scraping the finger during fingerstick collection.
  • Avoid overfilling blood collection tubes. They have a specific amount of anticoagulant for the volume of blood as noted on the collection tube.
  • For good blood flow, keep the patient’s arm below the level of the patient’s heart.  

For questions, contact ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov

Posted : April 01, 2022


National Provider Identifier (NPI) Number Requirement 

For Specimen Submission

Submitters are required to provide the 10-digit National Provider Identifier (NPI) number for the Ordering Physician on all specimen submissions forms when including the Ordering Physician’s Name. Testing may be delayed if the required NPI numbers are not provided on the submission forms.

The Ordering Physician’s NPI number field is located in the Ordering Physician Information section. This section is found at the top right corner on all specimen submission forms as shown in the example below. Please note that the Ordering Physician’s NPI number must be an Individual NPI and not an Organization NPI.

Micro and CC G2B Illustration

For Questions, please email Lab Reporting at LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov, or call
(512) 776-7578 or 1-888-963-7111, Ext. 7578. 


Posted :  March 01, 2022


NOTICE: EXPIRING BLOOD COLLECTION TUBES

Type of Tube: 5 mL Gold Top SST Serum Separation Tube (Silicone Coated)

Lot #: 1097822

Expiration Date: 03/31/2022

Specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected!

What to do next:
• Review your stock, discard any expired tubes
• To order new supplies, fax order to (512) 776-7672

For questions call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 6236.

To see previous notices, please visit /lab/cc_notices.shtm

Posted :  March 01, 2022


*****Effective Immediately*****
Limited Supply of Vacutainer (K2EDTA) Lavender Top
Blood Collection Tubes 
for
Hemoglobin and Lead Testing 


Due to the nationwide demand and shortage of Becton Dickinson (BD) Vacutainer (K2EDTA) lavender top blood collection tubes, there may be a delay in the availability of the BD 2 mL Vacutainer (K2EDTA) lavender top blood collection tube that is normally readily available to our submitters for hemoglobin and blood lead testing.  

At this time, orders received for the 2 mL Vacutainer (K2EDTA) lavender top blood collection tube may be limited until further notice.  To ensure adequate supply, requests will be reviewed and adjusted, based on specimen submission. Adjusted requests will not be back-filled; therefore, a new request will need to be submitted. 

For order information call or email:
1-888-963-7111 ext. 7661 or 512-776-7661


ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

For questions, contact ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov

Posted :  February 04, 2022


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 Friday February 4, 2022, due to inclement weather and hazardous road conditions in the Austin area.
  • Please continue to ship all samples per regular guidelines.
  • Courier services are running as road conditions allow; however, expect 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.

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: /lab/cc_notices.shtm