Newborn Screening Changes Start June 1

Changes to requirements for using and storing newborn screening blood spot cards take effect June 1. Beginning on that date, physicians and other health care professionals must give parents a different decision form when they collect a newborn screening specimen.

Legislation passed in 2011 changes the consent requirements for using and storing newborn screening blood spot cards from an opt-out system in which parents may request destruction of their child's specimens, to an opt-in system in which parents must give consent for the residual specimens to be used for external research or stored more than two years.

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) says the information on the new form isn't valid for specimens collected before June 1, and physicians must continue using the current Disclosure/Directive to Destroy form for all specimens collected until then.

The department advises physicians to continue using 2010 and 2011 newborn screening collection kits after June 1 through the expiration date noted on the kits. Starting June 1, physicians must discard the second page in the 2010 and 2011 kits and replace it with the new decision form for parents with each newborn screening specimen collection.

DSHS requests physicians use up any 2010 and 2011 newborn screening collection kits before ordering the new 2012 kits, which Chris Van Deusen, DSHS assistant press officer, says will be available for distribution sometime this month.

To stay up to date on the availability of the new kits and the changes, email newbornScreeningLab@dshs.state.tx.us or call (888) 963-7111, ext. 7333.


Action, April 3, 2012


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