Newborn Screening Notices

DSHS Laboratory Services Section – Notice to Public

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Correct Website to Parent Decision Form for Storage and Use of 
Newborn Screening Blood Spot Cards Information 

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) migrated its website to a new platform in 2023.  The move deactivated a website address listed on all the Newborn Screening (NBS) collection kits currently in use.  The Parent Decision Form for Storage and Use of Newborn Screening Blood Spot Cards page now contains the wrong website address. See the image below “for questions or more information” section. The affected kits are those with serial numbers starting with 21-XXXXXXX, 22-XXXXXXX, and 23-XXXXXXX. 

The correct website address to direct parents to www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/nbsFAQ.  
This summer, we will begin distributing the 2024 NBS collection kits (24-XXXXXXX) with the correct website address.   

"Correct Website to Parent Decision Form for Storage and Use of  Newborn Screening Blood Spot Cards Information "


For Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory

Phone: 512-776-7333
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted May 20, 2024


A message from Grace Kubin, Ph.D., Associate Commissioner, DSHS Public Health Laboratory Division

It’s that time of year again! Each year, the DSHS Austin Public Health Laboratory conducts a survey, open to all our customers, to provide important feedback on laboratory services. Your feedback is used by the laboratory to better understand your needs and identify gaps in service as part of the laboratory's commitment to continuous quality improvement. If you are interested to see the results of last year’s survey, you can find them here: 2023 Annual DSHS Laboratory Customer Service Survey Results Summary.

I encourage you to take the 2024 Public Health Laboratory Customer Service Survey. It should not take more than 10 minutes to complete. For questions or concerns, please send an email to: Labinfo@dshs.texas.gov.

 2024 Public Health Laboratory Customer Service Survey

**Feedback will be collected until April 30, 2024**

Posted April 1, 2024


Newborn Screening Quality Improvement Hints 
Importance of Birthweight

DSHS Newborn Screening (NBS) Laboratory evaluates test results based on birthweight. Leaving the birthweight blank on the NBS demographic page may delay testing. Test results may not be accurate if the weight is wrong or not in grams. 

Download a copy of the Quality Improvement Hint: Importance of Birthweight 

For a weight conversion chart and other NBS Healthcare Provider Resources visit: dshs.texas.gov/lab/nbsHCRes.shtm

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

Posted March 22, 2024


Newborn Screening Laboratory Addresses for Receiving Specimens

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory can receive both overnight shipments and regular United States Postal Service (USPS) mail deliveries. Submitters should be mindful of the time between collection, shipment, and delivery. DSHS recommends shipping specimens using an overnight or trackable service like USPS Priority Mail, FedEx, or UPS.

The clock starts ticking the day of collection, which equals day one. Newborn screening (NBS) specimens are unsatisfactory if received after 13 days of collection and will need a recollection. Best practice is to allow NBS specimens to dry a minimum of 3 hours, per Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI). Ship specimen same day using an overnight or trackable service. 

For Overnight/Courier Shipping (UPS, FedEx, etc.):
Texas Department of State Health Services
Laboratory Services Section, MC 1947
1100 W. 49th Street
Austin, TX 78756-3199

For USPS Regular and Priority Mail:
Texas Department of State Health Services
Laboratory Services Section, MC 1947
PO Box 149341
Austin, TX 78714-9341

Need help?
Contact DSHS Newborn Screening Laboratory:

Phone: 1-888- 963-7111 ext. 7585 or Locally: 512-776-7585
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
 

Posted March 4, 2024


NBS Web Application (Neometrics)
Unavailable from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Sunday, March 3, 2024

IT will be performing system maintenance on Sunday, March 3, 2024, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

During this time the DSHS Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics) will be unavailable.

Need help?
Contact DSHS Laboratory:

Phone: 1-888- 963-7111 ext. 7318 or Locally: 512-776-7318
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
 

Posted February 29, 2024


Clarification: Changes to Newborn Screening Cystic Fibrosis Testing and Result
Reporting Statements Effective February 5, 2024

The Texas DSHS Newborn Screening (NBS) Laboratory updated and added new result codes for Cystic Fibrosis to improve fidelity in reporting by reducing the frequency of manual result entry. No changes were made to the DSHS CF DNA variant panel. For all existing CF DNA results, the CFTR mutation analyte result in the result grid of the report was updated to match the language in the result notes (variant instead of mutation per ACMG guidelines). Eighty new CFDNA result combinations that previously required free text entry were added to the list of results linked below. These updates went into effect on February 5, 2024.

A full list of all test results can be found here: 
Newborn Screening Laboratory Results | Texas DSHS.

Reminder: Please review the result screening note(s) for all CF DNA results.

Questions?
Contact DSHS Newborn Screening Laboratory:

Phone: 1-888- 963-7111 ext. 7585 or Locally: 512-776-7585
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
 

Posted February 27, 2024


Changes to Newborn Screening Cystic Fibrosis Testing and Result Reporting Statements Effective February 5, 2024

The Texas DSHS Newborn Screening (NBS) Laboratory updated and added new result codes for Cystic Fibrosis to improve fidelity in reporting by reducing the frequency of manual result entry. For all existing CF DNA results, the CFTR mutation analyte result in the result grid of the report was updated to match the language in the result notes (variant instead of mutation per ACMG guidelines). Additionally, 80 new CF DNA results were added. These updates went into effect on February 5, 2024.

A full list of all test results can be found here: 
Newborn Screening Laboratory Results | Texas DSHS.

Reminder: Please review the result screening note(s) for all CF DNA results.

Questions?
Contact DSHS Newborn Screening Laboratory:
Phone: 1-888- 963-7111 ext. 7585 or Locally: 512-776-7585
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted February 20, 2024


2024 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 requests for clarifying information immediately. If information is not received by 1:00 p.m. the next business day, the specimen will be deemed unsatisfactory for testing.

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 January 2, 2024


Cost of the DSHS Newborn Screening Kit will Increase January 1, 2024

Effective January 1, 2024, the cost of Private Pay Insurance/Self-Pay newborn screening (NBS) kits will increase by 8%, from $63.55 to $68.63. Insurance/Self-Pay NBS kits ordered on or after January 1, 2024, will be billed at the new price of $68.63.

The purpose of this increase will be to support increased costs for operations and is not for the addition of any new conditions to the Department of State Health Services newborn Screening panel.

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

For Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory

Phone: 512-776-7333
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted December 13, 2023


DSHS Newborn Screening Laboratory Closure - Scheduled for December 9, 2023

Due to ongoing building updates and renovations the DSHS Newborn Screening Laboratory will be closed on Saturday, December 9, 2023. Testing and reporting will resume on Monday, December 11, 2023.

  • DO NOT DELAY collection or shipment of newborn screening specimens.
  • 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, and UPS.

For Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory

Phone: 512-776-7333
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted December 07, 2023


DSHS Newborn Screening Improvement to Primary Congenital Hypothyroidism Testing Methodology

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

Goals of the project:

  • Optimize 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.

On December 4, 2023, changes will be implemented to the initial screening CH testing methodology based on this project’s findings.

  • Specimens collected before 7 days of life will be screened using Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). A subset of specimens with slightly elevated TSH levels will be retested for both TSH and Thyroxine (T4) levels.
  • All specimens collected at 7 days of life or later will be screened using both Thyroxine (T4) and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH).

There will be no changes to result reporting statements, HL7 reporting or recommended follow-up activities at this time.

Where can I find more information on Primary Congenital Hypothyroidism (CH)?

Find more information at Congenital Hypothyroidism ACT sheet.pdf (texas.gov)

For Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory

Phone: 512-776-7333
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted December 04, 2023


2024 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.

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 01, 2023


DSHS Austin Laboratory Thanksgiving Holiday Closure Reminder

With the exception of Newborn Screening and Rabies testing, the DSHS Austin Laboratory will be closed, and no testing will occur Thursday, 11/23/2023 through Saturday, 11/25/2023. The DSHS Laboratory is completely closed on Sundays. Testing services will resume as normal, Monday, 11/27/2023.
See below for more details on selected testing.

Newborn Screening (NBS)

  • The Newborn Screening Laboratory will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Thursday 11/23/2023 and will resume testing on Friday, 11/24/2023.
  • DO NOT DELAY collection or shipment of newborn screening specimens.
  • 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, and UPS.

Clinical Chemistry

  • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, and lipid/cholesterol specimens must be received by Wednesday, 11/22/2023 to complete testing before the holiday closure.
  • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid profile, or glucose specimens on Fridays or on the day before a state-observed holiday.

Microbiology

Rabies Specimens:

  • Rabies specimens received after 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, 11/22/2023 will be tested Friday, 11/24/2023. Submitters will be notified of positive results by 12:00 p.m. Friday. All other results will be available Monday 11/27/2023.

  • Emergency testing will be available Friday, 11/24/2023 and Saturday, 11/25/2023 only by prior arrangement with Rabies testing staff. Call (512) 776-7595 before 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, 11/22/2023 to discuss. 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 11/27/2023.
  • All other specimens will be tested on Monday, 11/27/2023, and results will be available by 5:00 p.m.

Tuberculosis (TB) Specimens:

  • Do not ship specimens for delivery between Wednesday, 11/22/2023 and Saturday, 11/25/2023. Refrigerate specimens collected during this period until shipping is possible.
  • Ensure critical AFB Smear and NAA for M. tuberculosis specimens are delivered by 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, 11/22/2023. 
  • Call (512) 776-7342 before 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, 11/22/2023 for expedited test requests.

Candida auris Swab Specimens:

  • Do not ship swabs for delivery from Wednesday, 11/22/2023 to Saturday, 11/24/2023.

Swabs collected during this period must be refrigerated and shipped on cold packs for delivery when Laboratory is open.

Carbapenem Resistant Organisms Swab Specimens:

  • Do not collect or ship swabs from Tuesday, 11/21/2023 to Saturday, 11/24/2023.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing Specimens:

  • Do not collect or ship swabs from Tuesday, 11/21/2023 to Saturday, 11/24/2023.

Bacteriology Water Samples:

  • Water samples will not be accepted at DSHS Laboratory from Wednesday, 11/22/2023 to Saturday, 11/25/2023.

All Other Microbiology Specimens or Samples:

  • Do not ship specimens for delivery between Thursday, 11/23/2023 and Saturday, 11/25/2023. 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, 11/23/2023 to Saturday, 11/25/2023.

Ordering Laboratory Supplies:

Newborn Screening Medicaid/Paid Card Order Requests

  • Priority overnight shipping requests received on Wednesday 11/22/2023 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Priority Overnight.
  • All requests received before noon Wednesday 11/22/2023 will be processed and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received after noon Wednesday 11/22/2023 through Saturday 11/25/2023 will be sent Monday, 11/27/2023.

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

  • All requests received on Wednesday 11/22/2023 will be audited, issued, and shipped via FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received before 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday 11/22/2023 will be audited, issued, and shipped via FedEx Ground Wednesday afternoon, 11/22/23.
  • Requests received after 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday 11/22/2023 through Sunday 11/26/2023 will be audited, issued, and shipped on Monday 11/27/2023 via FedEx Ground.

***Per FedEx website, FedEx Ground will be closed Thursday 11/23/2023 but will deliver packages Friday 11/24/2023.***

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 November 9, 2023


Updates to the Login Process for NBS Web Application (Neometrics)

To improve data security, the number of incorrect logins attempts on the Newborn Screen (NBS) Web Application, Neometrics, prior to account lock has been reduced from five to three.

Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) security policy requires deactivation of accounts that have not been accessed within 90 days. Users will now receive an email providing notification of upcoming account deactivations due to non-use. This notice will instruct users to log into the NBS Web Application account to keep their accounts active.

Need help?
Contact Remote Lab Support:

Email: remotelabsupport@dshs.texas.gov

Posted October 05, 2023


NBS Web Application (Neometrics)
Unavailable from 8:00 p.m. Sunday, October 1, to 12:00 a.m. Monday, October 2, 2023

IT will be performing network maintenance on Sunday, October 1, 2023, from 8:00 p.m. to

12:00 a.m. Monday, October 2, 2023.

During this time the DSHS Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics) will be unavailable.

Need help?
Contact DSHS Laboratory:

Phone: 1-888- 963-7111 ext. 7318 or Locally: 512-776-7318
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted September 27, 2023


Importance of Residual Blood Spot Consent

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Newborn Screening Laboratory recommends five complete blood spots for the newborn screen. This ensures that there will be enough blood to complete all screening and retesting for any abnormal results. The blood that remains after all testing is complete is the residual blood spots. These blood spots have important uses for both DSHS and public health research.

After testing, DSHS keeps residual blood spots in a secure location for up to two years. By Texas law (Health & Safety Code Sec. 33.018 (b)-(c)), the residual blood spots are available for use during that time. Possible uses during the two-year time include:

  • Ensuring DSHS newborn screening tests, equipment, and supplies are working.
  • Developing new tests for newborn screening.
  • Studying diseases that affect public health as allowed by law.

If the parent gives their "OK" on the Parent Decision Form for Storage and Use of Newborn Screening Blood Spots, the residual blood spots are safely stored for up to 25 years. The blood spots may be used for public health research outside of DSHS. The research would study public health problems like cancer, birth defects, and other diseases. Identifying information about the parent or child will not be released outside of DSHS without additional written consent.

Residual blood spots are vital to improve the health of current and future children in Texas and beyond. Research using dried blood spots helps improve screening tests for disorders in newborns and development of better treatments or cures.

For Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory Educators

Phone: 512-776-7585
Fax: 512-776-7157
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7585
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted September 27, 2023


CORRECTION: NBS Web Application (Neometrics)
Unavailable from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday, September 24, 2023

IT will be performing network maintenance on Sunday, September 24, 2023, from 8:00 p.m. to
10:00 p.m.

During this time the DSHS Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics) will be unavailable.

Need help?
Contact DSHS Laboratory:

Phone: 1-888- 963-7111 ext. 7318 or Locally: 512-776-7318
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted September 22, 2023


Newborn Screening Timeliness; a Texas-Sized Task

The saying “Everything is Bigger in Texas” applies to the Texas Newborn Screening (NBS) Program. The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory tests over 750,000 NBS specimens per year.

The babies of Texas, who may be born with time-critical conditions, are counting on us to get the results to their healthcare provider. The clock to timely reporting starts ticking as soon as submitters collect a NBS specimen. National recommendations state that first screen specimens should arrive at the DSHS Laboratory within 24 hours after collection.

During 2022, our percentage for reporting time-critical presumptive positive results within 5 days of life was 40.9%, far below the national goal of 95%.

To improve time-critical reporting submitters should:

  • Collect a quality specimen at 24 hours of life.
  • Let the specimen dry for at least 3 hours.
  • Ship the specimen, via overnight courier, to the DSHS Lab as soon as possible.

The review, preparation, and testing of a newborn specimen begins the day it arrives at the DSHS Lab. The DSHS Lab processes 2,000-3,000 specimens a day, 6 days a week. Most testing is completed on a timeline spanning 2 to 3 business days after specimen receipt. Once testing is complete, results are sent to DSHS NBS follow-up staff who call the infant’s doctor, ensuring the baby gets follow-up care without delay. There is always room for improvement and increasing timely reporting is important for the health of Texas babies. Newborn Screening Educators are available to provide education and tips on NBS process improvements.

"Flowchart of Newborn Screening Specimens Timeline for Laboratory

For Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory Educators

Phone: 512-776-7585
Fax: 512-776-7157
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7585
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted September 20, 2023


Department of State Health Services Public Health Laboratory Division has revised Newborn Screening Laboratory Testing Fees

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Public Health Laboratory Division has revised newborn screening laboratory testing fees to meet business needs. This revision takes effect January 1, 2024.

The cost of PAID newborn screening (NBS) kits will be increased by 8% (from $63.55 to $68.63). Paid NBS kits, ordered on or after January 1, 2024, would be billed at the new price of $68.63. To view complete details, visit the DSHS Laboratory’s Fee Schedule webpage.

Posted September 11, 2023


Importance of Collecting Two Newborn Screening Tests

The Texas Department of State Health Services implemented a two-screen system in 1983 to maximize the effectiveness of testing for disorders on the Texas Newborn Screening Panel. Every baby born in Texas gets two newborn screening tests to screen for 55 rare disorders.

The first newborn screen is collected 24-48 hours after birth and the second at 7-14 days of life. Combined, the two screens help identify disorders at the earliest possible opportunity. In Texas, the second screen routinely detects babies at risk for severe medical complications. These babies sometimes have a normal first screen.

The timing of collecting newborn screening is important. After a baby is born, their physiology changes in the first days and weeks of life. For this reason, some disorders can only be detected immediately after birth or one to two weeks after birth when the second screen is collected. Some disorders, like cystic fibrosis, rely on information from both the first and second newborn screen to better determine which babies need extra testing and referral to a specialist.

The goal of the Texas Newborn Screening Program is to identify babies who have these devastating diseases before symptoms arise so that they can receive appropriate treatment and lead productive and healthy lives. Having a second screen improves medical provider’s ability to identify children with disorders who would have otherwise gone undetected.

For Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory Educators

Phone: 512-776-7585
Fax: 512-776-7157
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7585
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted September 11, 2023


September is National Newborn Screening Awareness Month

The Texas Department of State Health Services Newborn Screening Program began in 1965 with statewide screening for Phenylketonuria (PKU). Since then, the program has grown, and the State of Texas is now screening for 55 disorders.

Because Newborn Screening began with one test looking for PKU, many began calling the Newborn Screen Test the “PKU test,” a term which is now outdated and misleading. PKU is only one of the many disorders screened for on the Newborn Screening Test. Telling a caregiver, provider, or other attending staff the newborn has an abnormal “PKU test” can be confusing and result in incorrect follow-up testing and treatment.

We challenge YOU to become aware and make a conscious effort to remove the confusing label of “PKU” or “PKU test” when talking about the Newborn Screening Test.

The Evolution of Texas Newborn Screening timeline on our website offers a glimpse into how the Newborn Screening program has grown from piloting and testing for only PKU in the 1960s to 55 disorders today.

For Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory Educators

Phone: 512-776-7585
Fax: 512-776-7157
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7585
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted September 5, 2023


2022 Texas Newborn Screening Annual Report

TOGETHER in 2022 we:

  • Screened about 394,000 babies and over 761,000 newborn screening (NBS) specimens.
  • Identified 1,130 babies born in 2022 (to date) affected by one of the NBS disorders.

KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!

The 2022 Texas Newborn Screening by the Numbers Report provides:

ACHDNC* Recommended

Timeliness Performance Measures (Goal = 95%)

Texas

Status

Initial NBS specimen collection: First NBS screens should be collected within the appropriate time frame for the newborn’s condition but no later than 48 hours after birth.

97.3%

Transportation of initial NBS specimens: First NBS screens should be received at the laboratory as soon as possible; ideally within 24 hours of collection. Specimens received within 24 hours of collection.

18.1%

Transportation of initial NBS specimens: First NBS screens should be received at the laboratory as soon as possible. Specimens received within 48 hours of collection.

63.4%

Reporting of initial screen presumptive positive time critical condition** results: Results should be reported to healthcare provider as soon as possible, but no later than five days of life.

40.9%

Reporting of initial screen presumptive positive time sensitive condition** results: Results should be reported as soon as possible, but no later than seven days of life.

83.7%

Completion of all initial screen NBS tests within seven days of life with results reported to the healthcare provider as soon as possible.

83.4%

* United States 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
MEDICAL SCREENING UNIT • LABORATORY SERVICES SECTION • PO BOX 149347 • AUSTIN, TX 78714-3194

Posted August 24, 2023


NBS Web Application (Neometrics) will be Unavailable from 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 22, to 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 23, 2023

IT will be performing network maintenance starting at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 22, 2023, to
6:00 a.m. Wednesday, August 23, 2023.

During this time, the DSHS Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics) will be unavailable.

Need help?
Contact DSHS Laboratory:

Phone: 1-888- 963-7111 ext. 7318 or Locally: 512-776-7318
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted August 22, 2023


Request of Sickle Cell Results for Student-Athletes

NCAA Policy requires sickle cell test results for all student-athletes as of August 2022. 
The Texas newborn screening panel includes testing for sickle cell trait.

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 general 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 July 3, 2023


2023 Annual DSHS Laboratory Customer Service Survey
A message from Grace Kubin, Ph.D., Director, DSHS Laboratory Services Section.

Your feedback is very important! Each year, the DSHS Laboratory initiates a survey open to all our customers to provide important feedback on laboratory services. Your feedback is used by the laboratory to better understand your needs and identify gaps in service as part of the laboratory's commitment to continuous quality improvement. This year, we are providing a summary of last year’s (2022 survey) results and changes initiated in response to your feedback found on the Laboratory Services Section website here: Laboratory Customer Service Survey.

I encourage you to take the 2023 Laboratory Customer Service Survey. It should not take more than 10 minutes to complete. For questions or concerns, please send an email to: Labinfo@dshs.texas.gov.

 2023 Laboratory Customer Service Survey.

**Feedback will be collected until June 30, 2023,**

Posted June 1, 2023


Request of Sickle Cell Results for Student-Athletes

NCAA Policy requires sickle cell test results for all student-athletes as of August 2022. 
The Texas newborn screening panel includes testing for sickle cell trait.

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 general 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 May 03, 2023


NBS Web Application (Neometrics) will be Unavailable from 9:00 p.m. Saturday, April 22, to 9:00 p.m. Sunday, April 23, 2023

IT will be performing network maintenance starting at 9:00 p.m. Saturday, April 22, 2023, to
9:00 p.m. Sunday, April 23, 2023.

During this time the DSHS Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics) will be unavailable.

Need help?
Contact DSHS Laboratory:

Phone: 1-888- 963-7111 ext. 7318 or Locally: 512-776-7318
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted April 20, 2023


Do Not Hold Newborn Screening Specimens Due to Access Issues with the Web Applications

Do not hold your newborn screen specimens due to web application access issues. Submit specimens as soon as possible so there is no delay in the time-critical testing of newborns. All demographic information can be handwritten on the NBS kit. Ship dried specimen as soon as possible and within 24 hours of collection, preferably via overnight courier. We recommend keeping the yellow copy for your records and tracking when samples are sent to the lab.

DSHS is aware of the current issues with our newborn screening web application and is working diligently on a resolution.

For Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory
Phone: 512-776-7333
Fax: 512-776-7157
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted April 13, 2023


Update about Possible Error for Newborn Screening Web Application Users

Some users have been experiencing issues accessing the Newborn Screening Web Application login page. The HHS IT support team has made changes that should alleviate the problem. If you are still having issues, a full reboot of your computer may resolve the issue.

If you receive an “invalid username or password” message, please send an e-mail to remotelabsupport@dshs.texas.gov for assistance with account reactivations or password resets. Reactivations or resets will be completed as soon as possible and within 5 calendar days.


For Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory

Phone: 512-776-7333
Fax: 512-776-7157
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted April 06, 2023


Important Information about Possible Errors for Newborn Screening Web Application Users

Some users are currently experiencing issues accessing the Newborn Screening Web Application login page. This issue, unfortunately, can only be resolved directly on the PC used to access the application.

To fix this issue, do a full shutdown of your computer, wait one minute, and then power back on.

If the full shutdown does not resolve the issue:

  1. Go to the Windows Windows search screen shot  search and type in “command prompt”.
  2. Open the command prompt:

 "Command Prompt button" 

  1.  Type “ipconfig /flushdns” into the prompt.  You should receive a message similar to the one below: 

    "Command Prompt flush cache screenshot"
  2. Restart the computer.

For Other Questions Please Contact:
IT support, the HHSC IT Consolidated Helpdesk

Phone: 512-438-4720 (option 1), 7:00 am-7:00 pm
Toll-free: 855-435-7181 (option 1), 7:00 am-7:00 pm

Posted April 04, 2023


NBS Web Application (Neometrics) Unavailable from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, 2023

IT will be performing network maintenance starting at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, 2023, to
11:00 p.m. March 28, 2023.

During this time the DSHS Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics) will be unavailable.

Need help?
Contact DSHS Laboratory:

Phone: 1-888- 963-7111 ext. 7318 or Locally: 512-776-7318
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted March 28, 2023


Important Information for Newborn Screening Web Application Users

An update to the Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics) will be implemented on Sunday, March 26, 2023. Improvements will be made to the login page, the home page, the Remote Demographic Entry module, search functions, and facility reports.

These changes will include:

  • Self-service password reset capabilities.
  • Facility Report page access from the home page.
  • Changes to the overall look of the Remote Data Entry Form.
  • Improved capability to correct/clear Fields in Remote Demographic Entry and Demographic Entry Search pages.
  • Renaming of facility reports for better indication of their use.

For a full list of the changes as well as a view of the new Remote Demographic page download the flyer here.

For Information about Online Accounts or to Sign-Up Visit: Texas Department of State Health Services - Remote Data Systems

For Other Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory

Phone: 512-776-7333
Fax: 512-776-7157
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted March 24, 2023


Check the Expiration Date on Newborn Screening Kits

Newborn Screening (NBS) kits beginning with serial number 20 (20-XXXXXXX), EXPIRED on December 31, 2022.

Do Not Use ‘20’ kits to collect NBS specimens.

Specimens collected on ‘20’ kits after December 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 December 31, 2022, need to be received by DSHS on or before March 31, 2023)
  • Allow DSHS five (5) business days from receipt of the 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 

Posted March 10, 2023


Delay in Scheduled Updates to Newborn Screening Web Application 

The updates to the Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics), which were scheduled for Sunday, March 5, 2023, have been delayed. Once a new implementation date is set, additional communication will be sent out.

For Information about Online Accounts or to Sign-Up Visit: Texas Department of State Health Services - Remote Data Systems

For Other Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory

Phone: 512-776-7333
Fax: 512-776-7157
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted March 3, 2023


Important Information for Newborn Screening Web Application Users

An update to the Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics) will be implemented on Sunday, March 5, 2023. Improvements will be made to the login page, the home page, the Remote Demographic Entry module, search functions, and facility reports.

These changes will include:

  • Self-service password reset capabilities.
  • Facility Report page access from the home page.
  • Changes to the overall look of the Remote Data Entry Form.
  • Improved capability to correct/clear Fields in Remote Demographic Entry and Demographic Entry Search pages.
  • Renaming of facility reports for better indication of their use.

For a full list of the changes as well as a view of the new Remote Demographic page download the flyer here.

For Information about Online Accounts or to Sign-Up Visit: Texas Department of State Health Services - Remote Data Systems

For Other Questions Please Contact:
Newborn Screening Laboratory

Phone: 512-776-7333
Fax: 512-776-7157
Toll-free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov 

Posted February 27, 2023


Return Mailing Envelopes for Newborn Screen - Specimens are Back in Stock

The DSHS Newborn Screen return mailing envelopes have been out of stock since January 2023.  Previous backorders will not be filled. Please submit your order using the most up-to-date order form #G-6D, Order Form for Newborn Screening Supplies (Revised 01/2022), https://dshs.texas.gov/lab/MRS_forms.shtm

The quickest way to get your order filled is to email the G-6D, Order Form for Newborn Screening Supplies to containerprepgroup@dshs.texas.gov

General Questions / Comments
888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
dshs.texas.gov/lab/newbornscreening.shtm
Container Preparation Group:
ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

Posted February 23, 2023


Check the Expiration Date on Newborn Screening Kits

Newborn Screening (NBS) kits beginning with serial number 20 (20-XXXXXXX), EXPIRED on December 31, 2022.

Do Not Use ‘20’ kits to collect NBS specimens.

Specimens collected on ‘20’ kits after December 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 December 31, 2022, need to be received by DSHS on or before March 31, 2023)
  • Allow DSHS five (5) business days from receipt of the 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 the 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 February 06, 2023


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


2023 Newborn Screening Laboratory Closure

  • Due to inclement weather, the Texas Newborn Screening Laboratory will be closed for testing on Wednesday, February 1, 2023.
  • Testing is expected to resume on Thursday, February 2, 2023, 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 methods 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 January 30, 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


DSHS Is Currently Unavailable to Fill Orders for Newborn Screening Test Kit Return Mailing Envelopes

DSHS Laboratory has traditionally provided a return mailing envelope with NBS collection card orders. As a result of supply chain issues, the DSHS Laboratory is temporarily out of return mailing envelopes.

Submitters should continue to send specimens in a timely manner and are welcome to use the envelopes they have available. 

REMEMBER: 

  • Do not fold specimens or use any envelope that is hermetically sealed. 
  • Never place a newborn screening collection card in an airtight, leakproof, sealed mailer. The lack of air exchange could cause a buildup of moisture to accumulate and damage the specimen.
  • Verify proper postage before mailing.

Send specimens to:
Department of State Health Services
Laboratory Services Section MC 1947
PO Box 149341
Austin TX 78714-9341

General Questions / Comments
888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
dshs.texas.gov/lab/newbornscreening.shtm
Container Preparation Group:
ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

Posted January 13, 2023


Reminder: NBS Web Application (Neometrics) Unavailable from 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Sunday, January 8, 2023

IT will be performing network maintenance starting at midnight on January 8, 2023, to 6:00 a.m. January 8, 2023.

During this time the DSHS Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics) will be unavailable.

Need help?
Contact DSHS Laboratory:

Phone: 1-888- 963-7111 ext. 7318 or Locally: 512-776-7318
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted January 06, 2023


NBS Web Application (Neometrics) Unavailable from 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. Sunday, January 8, 2023

IT will be performing network maintenance starting at midnight on January 8, 2023, to
6:00 a.m. January 8, 2023.

During this time the DSHS Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics) will be unavailable.

Need help?
Contact DSHS Laboratory:

Phone: 1-888- 963-7111 ext. 7318 or Locally: 512-776-7318
Email Newborn Screening: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Posted January 02, 2023


Check the Expiration Date on Newborn Screening Kits

Newborn Screening (NBS) kits beginning with serial number 20 (20-XXXXXXX), EXPIRED on December 31, 2022.

Do Not Use ‘20’ kits to collect NBS specimens.

Specimens collected on ‘20’ kits after December 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 December 31, 2022, need to be received by DSHS on or before March 31, 2023)
  • 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 the 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 02, 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


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


Temporary Change in Envelopes for Newborn Screening Kits

As a result of supply chain issues, the DSHS Laboratory is temporarily sending out Tyvek envelopes in place of the blue diamond mailing envelopes with newborn screening collection kits.

Due to the shape and size of the Tyvek envelope, the cost of postage will vary. For facilities sending less than five specimens per envelope, 4 First-Class stamps should cover the required postage.  However, to ensure proper postage is applied, please have the envelope weighed and measured.  

General Questions / Comments
888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333
NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
dshs.texas.gov/lab/newbornscreening.shtm
Container Preparation Group:
ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

Posted December 09, 2022


Brief, Full Building Closure Due TO Critical Building Updates

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. 

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.

Specimen Collection Card Expire 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
/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: /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”, 
    /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 before 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 about any kits before 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 - 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 the 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 improve 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 the 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 be less than 7 days (i.e., less than 168 hours) if the time of collection is before 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 before 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, the additional screen must be collected within the time frame advised by the 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 methods 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 methods 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 promptly 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 /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 the 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 an 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


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 in 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, the date of birth and the date of collection must be recorded accurately. When the information is missing, testing may be delayed. Specimens that are missing the date of collection may be unsatisfactory for testing.

Accurate and complete demographic information is necessary for 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 namedate 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


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 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


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 in 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


Changes to 2021 Newborn Screening Specimen Collection Kits

 A new lot of newborn screening specimen collection kits with serial numbers 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 before 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 is 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


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 the 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 in 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


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 before 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 laboratories 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 on June 1, 2021. A full list of all possible results is available.

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 in 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 on 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 on 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 before 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 laboratories 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 

 

 


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 the 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 before 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 laboratories 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 


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.

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