About Us - Newborn Screening Program


The Newborn Screening Program seeks to decrease the morbidity and mortality of infants born in Texas through customer-oriented, high quality newborn screening follow-up, case management and outreach education. 

Newborn Screening Program Overview

The Texas Department of State Health Services Newborn Screening Program consists of testing, follow-up and clinical care coordination.  All babies born in Texas are required to get a newborn screening blood test soon after birth for certain disorders. Babies also receive hearing and critical congenital heart disease screenings before they leave the birthing facility.  An abnormal laboratory result triggers follow-up and case management to ensure that the baby receives confirmatory testing and treatment, if needed.  Early treatment can prevent serious complications such as growth problems, developmental delays, deafness or blindness, intellectual disability, seizures or even early death. 

Texas newborns are screened for rare, but serious genetic disorders or medical conditions. Blood samples that are sent to the Austin state laboratory are screened for 55 conditions. Babies also receive newborn hearing screening and are screened for critical congenital heart disease before they leave the birthing facility. 

Finding these conditions early can help prevent serious complications. Treatment must begin as soon as possible because many of these disorders can cause developmental delays, illness or even death.  

Legislative Information

Newborn screening program rules are found in the Texas Administrative Code which compiles all state agency rules in Texas.

  • §37.51 – Purpose
  • §37.52 – Definitions
  • §37.53 – Disorders for which blood specimen screening is performed
  • §37.54 – Newborn screening exemption
  • §37.55 – Newborn screening specimen collection kits
  • §37.56 – Responsibilities of the physician (or other person attending a newborn, if no physician is present) and collection of first and second specimen
  • §37.57 – Screening procedures to be used
  • §37.58 – Follow-up, reporting, and record keeping on abnormal screening results and confirmed cases
  • §37.59 – Coordination with children with special health care needs services program
  • §37.60 – Newborn screening program benefits
  • §37.61 – Eligibility requirements for the newborn screening program benefits
  • §37.62 – Application process for the newborn screening program benefits
  • §37.63 – Denial of application, and modification, suspension, or termination of newborn screening program benefits
  • §37.64 – Newborn screening advisory committee


Congenital Cytomegalovirus (cCMV) Coordination and Testing

In the 88th Regular Session (2023), the Texas Legislature passed House Bill 2478. This bill added new newborn hearing screening requirements to Health and Safety Code, Chapter 47.

Newborn hearing screening programs (programs) now must test babies for cCMV if they do not pass the initial newborn hearing screen. Not all programs can perform cCMV tests. As such, it is expected the birthing facilities will perform these tests or refer to another provider for testing. The newborn’s parents or guardians can decline the test.

Programs are not required to enter tests results into the Texas Early Hearing Detection and Intervention management information system. Also, these changes do not impact follow-up or outpatient hearing screens.

Impacts to Newborn Hearing Screening Programs and Birthing Facilities

Current newborn hearing screening policies, requirements, and practices remain the same. DSHS may ask programs for their testing procedures during program certification and renewal. This will show programs are following the cCMV testing requirements.

DSHS does not plan to develop formal provider guidance on the new cCMV testing requirements. Programs and birthing facilities should work together to coordinate cCMV testing procedures. Procedures should include the process for programs to notify the birthing facility a baby needs cCMV testing. We encourage the provider community to find and share best practices.

Phenylketonuria (PKU) and Other Heritable Diseases

  • Health & Safety Code, Chapter 33: Phenylketonuria, Other Heritable Diseases, Hypothyroidism, and Certain Other Disorders
  • PKU or Other Heritable Diseases Dietary Supplement
    Article 3.79: Coverage for Special Dietary Formulas for Individuals with Phenylketonuria or Other Heritable Diseases
    Section 1-Definitions:
    (1) "Health insurance policy" means any group policy, contract, or certificate of health insurance or evidence of coverage delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed in this state by an insurance company, including a group hospital service corporation under Chapter 20 of this code and a health maintenance organization under the Texas Health Maintenance Organization Act (Chapter 20A, Vernon's Texas Insurance Code).
    (2) "Heritable disease" means an inherited disease that may result in mental or physical retardation or death.
    (3) "Phenylketonuria" means an inherited condition that may cause severe mental retardation if not treated.
    Section 2-Coverage Required:
    Each health insurance policy shall include coverage for formulas necessary for the treatment of phenylketonuria or other heritable diseases to the same extent as for drugs available only on the orders of a physician.
    This Act takes effect September 1, 1999, and applies only to an insurance policy that is delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed on or after January 1, 2000. A policy delivered, issued for delivery, or renewed before January 1, 2000, is governed by the law as it existed immediately before the effective date of this Act.

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