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. 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 coordinate with the parents, primary care provider, and specialist to facilitate additional testing to confirm the diagnosis 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 are sent to the Public Health Laboratory and screened for 55 conditions.

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.

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