Austin Laboratory Correspondence and Bulletins

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Notice of Rider 37 Stakeholder Meeting - DSHS Newborn Screening Program
Thursday, July 12, 2018 2:00pm – 4:00pm

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will hold a stakeholder meeting to accept comments as the agency develops a report for the S.B. 1, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, Article II, Department of State Health Services, Rider 37. DSHS will receive oral or written comments by interested persons. Individuals can present oral statements when called upon in order of registration. DSHS will determine the comment time for each individual by the total number of persons registered to speak in the time allotted. If time permits, each speaker will have three minutes, but this amount may be adjusted to allow for more registrants to provide comments.

Location:

Department of State Health Services Central Campus
Moreton Building – Room M-100
1100 West 49th Street, Austin, TX
For location details: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/visitor/complex.shtm

Background:

The 2017-18 General Appropriations Act, S.B. 1, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017 (Article II, Department of State Health Services, Rider 37) requires the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to study the most effective way to bill private insurers for newborn screening kits. The study must include the feasibility of requiring DSHS to bill private insurers for the cost of newborn screening kits and of requiring private insurers to automatically update their payment rates for the cost of newborn screening kits based on panel changes.

Stakeholders may provide comments in person on July 12th or submit written comments until July 26, 2018. Stakeholders are encouraged to share this notice with colleagues and affiliated organizations, partners, and anyone who may be interested in this report.

Written comments may be sent to:
E-mail: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov
Fax: 512-776-7221 Attention: Newborn Screening
Mail:
Texas Department of State Health Services
Newborn Screening Laboratory, MC 1947
PO Box 149347
Austin, TX 78714-9347

Review the Stakeholder Meeting Agenda for details regarding meeting topics and comment opportunities.


Laboratory Credit Card Payment

We are pleased to announce that the Billing Branch of the Texas Department of State Health Services has partnered with Texas.gov for online credit card payments. A fee will be charged to utilize this service. The fee for each transaction is $2.00, plus 2.25% of the total transaction amount.

As of April 16th, 2018 please begin using the link below for all credit card payments:

https://apps.portal.texas.gov/feepaylite/tx/dshs/laboratory

The following information is required to complete the payment transaction:

Cardholder Name (as it appears on the card)

Address, City, State, Zip Code

Card Type (Visa, MasterCard, Discover or AMEX)

Credit Card Number

Expiration Date

Verification Code

Charge Amount

Account Number(s)

posted Apr. 6, 2018


Texas Department of State Health Services Laboratory - Annual Customer Satisfaction Survey, Austin TX

Please complete the following survey. Your responses are very important as they help us improve our services.

The survey will take approximately 5 minutes to complete. 

Please click “OK” to begin the survey.  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FNWCGB6  

Please complete the survey by March 14, 2018.

If you have questions, contact the DSHS Laboratory at 512-776-7318. 

Posted 02/16/18 


Attention Quantiferon Screening Submitters

CHECK THE EXPIRATION DATE ON YOUR QUANTIFERON SCREENING KITS 

Quantiferon Screening kits with a lot number 55706098 EXPIRED on December 31, 2017. 

Specimens collected in expired tubes will be REJECTED. 

Questions / Comments

Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7661 or for local calls 512-776-7661

Email: ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

Posted 01/26/2018


Important Notice:

Please ensure that the Date of Collection on submission forms accurately reflects the new year to avoid possible specimen rejection for invalid information.

For questions, contact Specimen Logistics by e-mail at mailto:ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov

Posted 12/29/2017


Laboratory Holiday Closure Notice: Christmas and New Year 2017

Posted 12/8/2017 


Laboratory Holiday Closure Notice: Thanksgiving 2017

Posted Nov. 13, 2017


Important Notice

Information regarding Chagas Disease (American trypanosomiasis) specimen submission

Guidance for submission of Chagas Disease specimens to CDC, through the DSHS Laboratory, is provided by the Zoonosis Control Branch.

This includes testing acceptance criteria for both Serology and PCR in humans, and testing in bugs.  Call 512-776-2888.

Posted Oct. 20, 2017


Alert Regarding Microbiological Testing

On Thursday, October 12, 2017, DSHS Laboratory experienced an incident with the Public Health Laboratory Information Management System.  Please be aware that this incident may create duplicate result reports.  Please use the most recent report for all inquiries with DSHS.  A formal letter with additional information will be sent out soon.  If you have questions or concerns, please contact DSHS Laboratory Reporting at 512-776-7578.

Posted Oct. 13, 2017


Hurricane Harvey Contingencies: Newborn Screening

Important Actions:

  • For All Newborns in your care:
    • Collect 1st screens at 24-48 hours of age.
    • Collect 2nd screens at 7-14 days of age.
  • The 2nd screen may be the earliest opportunity to identify a newborn screening disorder.
    • If the 1st screen was missed, collect a specimen as soon as possible,
    • Collect the 2nd screen soon after 7 days of age.
  • Ensure the parent/guardian contact information will be valid throughout any potential family/baby relocation.
  • Ship specimens as soon 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
    Services:
  • The Texas Newborn Screening Program is fully operational and here to provide service and support.
  • Contact the DSHS Laboratory if you need specific help or have a suggestion on how DSHS can assist you with getting newborn screening specimens to the Laboratory. 

Posted Sept 7, 2017


Newborn Screening Guidance Following Hurricane Harvey

If you are a heath care provider in an affected area and have suggestions for how DSHS can assist with getting newborn screening specimens to the Laboratory, please contact the Laboratory at NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov  or call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333.

As you continue to deal with the destruction and aftermath of the hurricane:

  • Know:
  • The Texas Newborn Screening Program is fully operational and here to provide service and support.
  • The US Postal Service and courier services have not been able to operate in certain areas affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Providers should continue to:

  • Collect and dry newborn screens within the appropriate time frames.
  • Ensure the parent/guardian contact information will be valid throughout any potential family/baby relocation.
  • Ship as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours after collection.
  • Contact courier directly for service information for your area
  • If courier services are interrupted, store the specimens at room temperature in a dry location.
  • Do not put specimens in air-tight sealed containers.
  • 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.

Preparation for Hurricane Harvey: DSHS Laboratory Specimen Handling 

As Texas prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Harvey, the DSHS Laboratory has these tips for submitters to follow:

  1. Collect all specimens as usual.
  2. Expect delays from courier and postal services for areas that will be impacted by the hurricane, but ship as soon as possible
    • If you use courier services, contact them directly for additional information about your location
    • If courier/mail services are interrupted, store specimens to ensure they remain at the appropriate temperature and conditions until shipping/mailing.
      • Freeze serum specimens after collection for glucose, cholesterol/HDL/lipid panel, creatinine, and HIV/syphilis. 
      • Refrigerate whole blood specimens for lead and hemoglobin.
      • Maintain newborn screening specimens in a dry location
      • Rabies specimens should be kept refrigerated until shipping is available.
      • Specimens for mycobacterial culture should be refrigerated until shipping is available.
  3. Anticipate loss of power and possible flooding. Prepare a backup storage method, especially for those specimens that require refrigeration and freezing.
  4. Expect a possible backlog for courier and postal services when they resume.  

Posted Aug. 25, 2017


Hurricane Harvey: Newborn Screening Guidance

As you prepare for the weather, please remember:

  • Do Not Delay Newborn Screening Specimen Collection
    • Collect 1st screens at 24-48 hours of age
    • Collect 2nd screens at 7-14 days of age
  • Allow specimens to dry completely (3-4 hours)
  • Ensure the parent/guardian contact information will be valid throughout any potential family/baby relocation
  • Ship As Soon As Possible
    • If you use courier services, contact them directly for additional information about your location
    • If courier services are interrupted, store dried specimens at room temperature in a dry location
  • DO NOT put specimens in air-tight sealed containers
  • If a child has been transferred to another facility, include the newborn screening specimen collection status in the transfer documentation so that the receiving facility is aware if the specimen still needs to be collected.

Posted Aug. 25, 2017


2015 Expired Kit Notice:

Newborn Screening kits with a serial number beginning with 15 (15-XXXXXXX) EXPIRE on September 19, 2017. Use ‘15 kits first to collect specimens before they are set to expire. Specimens Collected on ‘15 kits after September 19, 2017 will be REJECTED.

Posted: August 10, 2017 


DSHS Laboratory Now Offers Creatinine Testing

Effective August 1, 2017, the Department of State Health Services Austin Laboratory began offering Creatinine testing for clients/patients receiving HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).  Serum specimens should be submitted at appropriate temperature to the DSHS Laboratory using an overnight courier with the G-1B specimen submission form with HIV/STD marked as the Payor Source.  See the DSHS Laboratory Testing Services Manual for further details on specimen collection, handling, and shipping at http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/mrs_labtests_toc.shtm.  For questions related to shipping, contact Tammy.Foskey@dshs.texas.gov.

Posted: August 2, 2017 


DSHS Laboratory to Offer Creatinine Testing

Effective August 1, 2017, the Department of State Health Services Austin Laboratory will begin offering Creatinine testing for clients/patients receiving HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).  Serum specimens should be submitted at appropriate temperature to the DSHS Laboratory using an overnight courier with the G-1B specimen submission form with HIV/STD marked as the Payor Source.  See the DSHS Laboratory Testing Services Manual for further details on specimen collection, handling, and shipping at http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/mrs_labtests_toc.shtm.  For questions related to shipping, contact Tammy.Foskey@dshs.texas.gov.

Posted: July 10, 2017 


 The DSHS Refugee Program will no longer cover laboratory testing services effective January 31, 2017  

Effective February 1, 2017, Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory submitters who submit laboratory testing requests using the DSHS Program Payor “Refugee” will be charged for the cost of the laboratory testing services.

As a reminder: Please select the appropriate payor for the laboratory testing requested and provide all required information, as indicated on the laboratory submission forms:

Biochemistry and Genetics Specimen Submission Form – Sample, revised 9/2016

Serology Specimen Submission Form – Sample, revised 9/2016

Bacteriology and Parasitology Specimen Submission Form – Sample, revised 9/2016

Virology Specimen Submission Form – Sample, revised 7/2016

Mycobacteriology/Mycology Specimen Submission Form – Sample, revised 9/2016

The DSHS Laboratory accepts the following third party coverage: Traditional Medicaid, Medicaid Managed Care, Fee for Service/Traditional Medicare, Medicare Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), and Commercial Insurance Plans such as Blue Cross Blue Shield.  

NOTE:  The DSHS Laboratory is not an in-network provider for Medicaid's Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Services for CHIP covered members should not be submitted to the DSHS Laboratory.

Posted: January 3, 2017 


Note: External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These sites may also not be accessible to people with disabilities.

Last updated July 2, 2018