March 6, 2009
Dear DSHS Laboratory Submitter:
As a follow up to the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) notification letter of February 19, 2009, we would like to remind you of the upcoming change in specimen acceptance/rejection criteria for specimens submitted for syphilis (RPR and TPPA), HIV and Hepatitis C testing.
Effective March 12, 2009, the DSHS laboratory will only accept serum specimens shipped cold and received within five days of specimen collection. These acceptance criteria are applicable regardless of when the specimens are collected.
Serum specimens may be collected in one of two ways:
- The specimen may be collected in a red-top blood collection tube and centrifuged within two hours of collection. The serum must then be transferred into a transport tube and shipped cold overnight, on cold packs; or
The specimen may be collected in a serum separator tube (SST), centrifuged within two hours of collection, and the SST shipped overnight cold, on cold packs.
DSHS has also developed more detailed information and training information for handling these specimens. This information may be found on the DSHS Website at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/lab/serumSpecimenCriteria.shtm.
DSHS Laboratory staff has been working with providers to assure they have the needed supplies for this transition. Approximately a two month supply of specimen collection supplies was shipped to each provider on March 3, 2009, based on the numbers of specimens submitted in the past year. If you have not received supplies, or if you have any additional questions, please contact Susan Hoffpauir at (888) 963-7111 x 6030 or by email at LabInfo.
Susan U. Neill, PhD, MBA
Director, Laboratory Services Section