Newborn Screening


Each year, about 98 percent of the 4 million newborns in the U.S. are screened for an array of serious genetic and other health conditions. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 12,500 newborns each year are diagnosed with one of the core conditions detected through newborn screening. This means about 1 in every 300 newborns screened is eventually diagnosed.

Texas hospitals play a critical role in screening newborns for certain, potentially devastating conditions that with early intervention and treatment can change a child’s future and prevent life-long disability or death.

Texas has required newborn screening since 1999, and like many other states, requires hospitals to conduct three types of screenings on all newborns born in their facilities:

  1. Hearing.
  2. Congenital metabolic and genetic disorders (bloodspot).
  3. Critical congenital heart disease.

Because of the severity of these conditions, it’s imperative that hospitals screen accurately and timely and deliver accurate and timely screening results for every baby.

Important Updates

Change to Newborn Screening Hemoglobinopathy

Due to issues obtaining quality control material from TDSHS’ manufacturer, effective Feb, 3, 2020, “Hemoglobin G” will no longer be reported. Specimens showing possible Hemoglobin G during testing will be reported as “Other” hemoglobin variant. If the manufacturer can provide quality control material in the future, TDSHS will resume Hemoglobin G reporting. 

Hemoglobin D Reporting Change

Due to issues with obtaining quality control material from our manufacturer, effective 10/28/2019, “Hemoglobin D” will no longer be reported. Specimens showing possible Hemoglobin D during testing will be reported as “Other” hemoglobin variant. If the manufacturer is able to provide quality control material in the future, we will return to being able to report out the Hemoglobin D result.

Contact TDSHS by phone at 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 (or for local calls 512-776-7333)

[email protected].

In collaboration with OZ Systems, the newborn hearing screening vendor for Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Hospital Association is helping educate Texas hospitals on the best practices for and benefits of newborn screening to:

  • Increase the number of newborns in Texas who are screened for serious conditions according to evidence-based timelines.
  • Reduce challenges for hospitals, providers and families.

THA and OZ Systems hosted on Oct. 9, 2018 an “Implementing Best Practices for Newborn Screening in Hospitals” webinar. The webinar covered the three different screenings and best practices and benefits of each.

In this Capitol Update, THA’s Carrie Kroll discusses the importance of newborn screening.

Seven Steps to Improve Timeliness of Newborn Screening   

Newborn screening is critical to ensure a healthy baby, and any delay in collecting or receiving a specimen has the potential to put a baby’s life at risk. THA and TDSHS ask Texas hospitals to use these best practices to improve timeliness and ensure proper specimen submission. 

  1. Review the internal processes to identify areas that may cause delays. 
  2. Collect specimens between 24-48 hours of age. Sooner the better. 
  3. Collect specimens at least 4-5 hours before a scheduled courier pick up. 
  4. Use overnight shipping whenever possible. Do not wait until the next day. 
  5. Assign specific collection and submission tasks to specific staff members to ensure accountability with every task. 
  6. Use the monthly report card to assess and monitor your specimen transit times. 
  7. For assistance, contact the TDSHS Lab at 888/963-7111 or [email protected]

Report Diagnosed Cases of Critical Congenital Heart Disease in Newborns

TDSHS and THA ask Texas hospitals report diagnosed cases of critical congenital heart disease in newborns to support research and prevention efforts.