Austin Laboratory Correspondence and Bulletins

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See also South Texas Laboratory Correspondence and Bulletins.


Specimen Identification Guidelines

  • DSHS requires positive identification for all clinical specimens submitted for testing.
  • A submission form is required for each specimen submitted.
  • Each specimen must have at least two patient-specific identifiers attached to the primary specimen container at the time of collection.
  • Patient-specific identifiers on specimen and submission form must match.

Note: The primary specimen container is the innermost container that holds the original specimen before processing and testing (e.g., specimen collection tube, swab, or cup).

Acceptable specimen identifiers include but are not limited to:

  • Patient Name
  • CDC Number
  • Unique Random Number
  • Medical Record Number
  • Medicaid Number
  • Newborn Screening Kit Number
  • Date of Birth

Note: Location based identifiers are NOT acceptable (e.g., hospital room number or street address).

Submission Forms must contain:

  • Two patient-specific identifiers, at minimum
  • Date of Collection
  • Test(s) Requested
  • Billing information

Questions? 

Call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 6697 or for local calls 512-776-6697

Email: LabInfo@DSHS.texas.gov

Posted November, 20 2019


DSHS Austin Laboratory Thanksgiving Holiday Closure Reminders

Newborn Screening (NBS)

Testing Notices:

  • NBS specimens received and accessioned on Wednesday, 11/27/2019 will be tested immediately by the NBS laboratory.
  • Healthcare providers may be notified of critical level preliminary presumptive positive results on Thursday, 11/28/2019 (Thanksgiving Day).
  • NBS testing will resume on Saturday, 11/30/2019.
  • Healthcare providers may be notified of critical level preliminary presumptive positive results on Sunday, 12/1/2019.

Healthcare Provider Reminders:

  • DO NOT delay collection or shipment of newborn screening specimens.
  • Ship dried specimens within 24 hours. If mail or courier services are unavailable, ship as soon as possible.

Clinical Chemistry

Testing Notices:

  • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid/cholesterol and creatinine specimens must be received by Wednesday, 11/27/2019 to complete testing before the holiday.
  • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid profile, glucose, or creatinine specimens on Fridays or on the day before a state-observed holiday.

Healthcare Provider Reminders:

Microbiology

  • Rabies:
    • Ship rabies specimens via Greyhound Bus.  Specimens received between 8 AM and noon on Wednesday, 11/27/2019 will be tested Friday, 11/29/2019.
    • Positive results will be called out before noon Friday, 11/29/2019. 
    • Emergency testing is available on Friday, 11/29/2019 and Saturday, 11/30/2019 by arrangement with laboratory personnel (512-776-7595). Specimen receipt must be guaranteed.
    • All other specimens will be tested on Monday, 12/2/2019 and reported before 5 PM.
  • Viral Isolation Laboratory:
    • Do not ship specimens Wednesday, 11/27/2019 – Sunday, 12/1/2019.  Store specimens collected during this time at -70°C or below.
    • Ship specimens on dry ice the week of 12/2/2019.
  • Mycobacteriology/Mycology Laboratory (TB):
    • Ensure critical AFB Smear and NAA for M. tuberculosis specimens are delivered to the laboratory by 8:30 AM on Wednesday, 11/27/2019.  
    • Call 512-776-7342 for expedited test requests before 9 AM on Wednesday, 11/27/2019.
    • Do not ship specimens Wednesday, 11/27/2019 to Friday, 11/29/2019.  Keep specimens in refrigerated storage until shipment.
    • Specimens will not be tested from Thursday, 11/28/2019 to Sunday, 12/1/2019.

Bacteriology Water Samples

  • Water samples will not be accepted the following dates:
    • November 27, 2019 - December 1, 2019
    • December 23, 2019 - December 27, 2019
    • December 31, 2019 - January 1, 2020
Supply Order Requests
  • Priority overnight shipping requests received on 11/26/2019 will be issued and sent as normal.
  • All other requests received by noon on 11/26/2019 will be sent FedEx Ground.
  • Requests received after noon on 11/26/2019 through 12/1 will be sent Monday, 12/2/2019.

Questions?

1-888-963-7111 ext. 7318 or locally 512-776-7318

Main Email: LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov

NBS Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

Clinical Chemistry Email: ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov

Container Preparation: ContainerPrepGroup@dshs.texas.gov

Posted November 04, 2019


CHECK NEWBORN SCREENING KIT EXPIRATION DATES


Newborn Screening kits with a serial number beginning with 17 (17-XXXXXXX) EXPIRE on October 31, 2019.

Use ‘17 kits first to collect specimens before they expire.

Specimens collected on ‘17 kits after October 31, 2019 will be REJECTED.

Questions / Comments

888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333

NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

dshs.texas.gov/lab/newbornscreening.shtm

Posted October 8, 2019 



Changes to the Texas DSHS Laboratory Fee Schedule

Including a fee increase to the NBS test

   

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory Services Section (LSS) is in the process of revising laboratory testing and fees for laboratory services to meet business needs.  These revisions are proposed to take effect January 1, 2020. Stakeholders can submit comments until December 30, 2019 at LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov or by mail at:  Laboratory Services Section, Attn. Fee Schedule Changes, PO Box 149347, Austin, TX 78714-9347.  

 

Increase of Fees Due to Inflation:

The broadest change to the Austin and South Texas DSHS Laboratory fee schedules would include the addition of 3% inflation to testing fees that have not been updated in the past year.  DSHS’ inflation-related increases would mirror medical inflation which is calculated by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Laboratory Services Section would adopt inflation-related increases to offset increased testing costs, such as laboratory supplies and various procedural/ technological changes that allow Texas to keep pace with public health lab testing standards.

 

There will be a fee increase to the NBS test:

Effective January 1, 2020, the new cost of PAID newborn screening (NBS) kits will be raised to $60.58 due to the addition of X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD) to the test panel.  PAID NBS kits ordered on or after January 1, 2020 will be billed at the new price of $60.58.

 

Other fee schedule changes:

Visit https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/Fees/90-day-notice---Jan-2020-Fee-Schedule-Notice---full-letter-for-website.pdf to view all proposed fee schedule changes, including:

  • fee changes to existing tests,
  • changes to test names to more accurately reflect the actual test procedure,
  • new tests added, and
  • existing tests discontinued.

 

The new fee schedules will be posted to the DSHS Laboratory website by January 1, 2020.  To view the current Austin and South Texas DSHS Laboratory fee schedules, please use the following link: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/fees.shtm

 

DSHS Laboratory Forms:

As with previous fee revisions, the laboratory submission forms will also be revised.  Revised submission forms will be provided to you no later than December 31, 2019, and they may be used beginning January 1, 2020. 

Thank you for your continued partnership and support.

Posted October 1, 2019



DSHS-SOUTH TEXAS LABORATORY

Labor Day Holiday Closure:

 

Departments at South Texas Laboratory in Harlingen will be closed on Monday, September 2, 2019.

 

FEDEX DOES NOT HAVE PICKUP OR DELIVERY SERVICE ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND SPECIMEN STABILITY REQUIREMENTS.

   

THE LABORATORY WILL RESUME NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS ON

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

 

PLEASE CALL THE APPROPRIATE DEPARTMENT WITH ANY QUESTIONS:

      o 956-364-8751 or 956-364-8752 (Clinical)
      o 956-364-8750 (Serology)
      o 956-364-8753 (TB)
      o 956-364-8369 (Emergency Preparedness)

      To sign up to receive e-mail updates for correspondence and bulletins, please go to:

      http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/STL/STLCorrespondenceBulletins.shtm

       

      Please refer to the FedEx website for their holiday schedule:

      https://www.fedex.com/en-us/service-guide/holiday-schedule.html

      THANK YOU

      Posted: August 22, 2019


      DSHS-SOUTH TEXAS LABORATORY

      LBJ’s Birthday Holiday Closure:

       

      Departments at South Texas Laboratory in Harlingen will be closed at the following time on

      Tuesday, August 27, 2019:

       

      Serology: OPEN ALL DAY

      Clinical (Chemistries, CBCs): NOON

      Emergency Preparedness: OPEN ALL DAY

      TB: NOON


      CAMERON AND HIDALGO COUNTY SUBMITTERS:

      PLEASE DELIVER CLINICAL SPECIMENS BY 11:00 AM FOR SAME DAY TESTING. IF CLINICAL SPECIMENS ARE DELIVERED AFTER 11:00, THEY WILL BE HELD FOR TESTING THE FOLLOWING DAY.


      THE LABORATORY WILL RESUME NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS ON

      Wednesday, August 28, 2019.

         

      PLEASE CALL THE APPROPRIATE DEPARTMENT WITH ANY QUESTIONS:

      • 956-364-8751 or 956-364-8752 (Clinical)
      • 956-364-8750 (Serology)
      • 956-364-8753 (TB)
      • 956-364-8369 (Emergency Preparedness)

       

      To sign up to receive e-mail updates for correspondence and bulletins, please go to:

      http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/STL/STLCorrespondenceBulletins.shtm

            THANK YOU

      Posted: August 22, 2019        



      Attention

      Due to the July holiday closings, Bacteriological Water Samples

      will not be accepted at DSHS Laboratory on the following dates:

      July 3rd, July 4th and July 5th 2019


      All sample containers must include the following:

      (label legibly with waterproof ink directly on the bottle if the pre-printed label is missing)


      - PWS Identification (ID) Number

      - Date and time sample was collected

      - Sampler's initials

      - Address / location where the sample was collected




      Posted June 26, 2019


      New Contact Information for Remote Data Systems Help

      Effective June 3, 2019

      Customers using Result Web Portal, Newborn Screening Web Application (Neometrics), or both, must contact the HHSC Consolidated Help Desk for password and login issues

      HHSC Consolidated Help Desk:

      Email: help@hhsc.state.tx.us 

      Phone: 855-435-7181

      Questions? 

      Call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7578 or for local calls 512-776-7578

      Email: RemoteLabSupport@dshs.texas.gov 

      Laboratory Correspondence & Bulletins page URL:
      http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/correspondencebulletins.shtm

      Posted May 31, 2019


      DSHS-SOUTH TEXAS LABORATORY

      Memorial Day Holiday Closure:

      South Texas Laboratory in Harlingen will be closed:

      Monday, May 27, 2019 

      FedEx delivery will also be closed and unavailable to pick up packages


      The laboratory will resume normal business hours on Tuesday, May 28, 2019.

      PLEASE CALL THE APPROPRIATE DEPARTMENT WITH ANY QUESTIONS:

      956-364-8751 or 956-364-8752 (Clinical)

      956-364-8750 (Serology)

      956-364-8753 (TB)

      956-364-8369 (Emergency Preparedness)

      To sign up to receive e-mail updates for correspondence and bulletins, please go to:

      http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/STL/STLCorrespondenceBulletins.shtm


      Posted May 6, 2019



      ATTENTION  BACTERIOLOGICAL WATER CUSTOMERS

      Public Water Systems and Private

      Effective June 3, 2019

      Effective 6/3/2019, the hours and times for bacteriological water receipt will change to the following:

      Water samples accepted Monday – Thursday 8am – 4pm (Except Federal Holidays).  See list below:

      Holiday Dates

      July 3 - 4, 2019  

      November 27 - 29, 2019

      December 23 - 26, 2019

      December 31, 2019

      January 1, 2020

      For questions or comments:

      Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7598 or for local calls 512-776-7598

      Posted May 1, 2019


      Notification regarding updated DSHS Laboratory Adopted Rules


      In the December 28, 2018 edition of the Texas Register, (43 TexReg 8550), pages 8551-8553 in the linked PDF, proposed administrative code changes were offered for public comment.  These changes were to the Texas Administrative Code, Title 25: Health Services; Part 1: Department of State Health Services; Chapter 73: Laboratories (25 TAC §73.41, §73.54, §73.55).  The section pertains to the fee schedule for Clinical testing, Newborn screening and Chemical analysis. 

      During the public comment period, DSHS received comments from Cure Spinal Muscular Atrophy (Cure SMA) and the Texas Medical Association (TMA).

      • Cure SMA provided support for the proposed changes to the rules.
      • TMA recommended adding language to Section 73.41 that stakeholders and LSS customers will be notified automatically through an e-mail subscription management system that provides subscribers with access to information on proposed changes to the LSS Public Fee Schedule.
      • TMA also recommended that LSS interested individuals (such as physicians) and entities should be notified automatically through an email subscription management system regarding final and adopted changes to the LSS Public Fee Schedule.

      DSHS declined to revise Section §73.41 based on these comments. DSHS responded to TMA in the adopted preamble that the longstanding practice of the LSS to engage stakeholders has included direct communication, LSS website and email subscription management systems. Stakeholders have the option to sign up for email updates regarding rules and fees changes through the DSHS LSS website at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/correspondencebulletins.shtm.  The LSS will continue to use the same methods of outreach and communication with stakeholders in order to ensure timely and inclusive stakeholder involvement in the fee change process.

      A section-by-section summary, major comment summaries, background and purpose of the adopted changes, and statutory authority summary, are included in the April 26, 2019 edition of the Texas Register (45 TexReg 2158-2159).  The unchanged rules will be effective May 2, 2019.  

      Posted April 29, 2019


      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. 

      Please complete the survey by March 25, 2019.

      If you have questions, contact the DSHS Laboratory at 512-776-7598.

      Posted February 27, 2019


      Attention Submitters

      CHECK EXPIRATION DATES and LABEL PLACEMENT

       

      When submitting bacterial isolates on media, please make sure that the expiration date of the media is visible on the plate/slant and expired media is not used.

      Specimens plated on expired media will be REJECTED.

       

      Questions / Comments

      Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7599 or for local calls 512-776-7599

      Email: DSHSLabMicrobiology@dshs.texas.gov

       

      Posted January 31, 2019 


      The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory Services Section(LSS) is proposing changes to the Texas Administrative Code (TAC).

      The purpose of the changes is to repeal rules §73.54 and §73.55 related to the Fee Schedule for Clinical Testing and Newborn Screening, as well as Chemical Analyses, from TAC. Additionally, rule §73.41 will be amended to direct stakeholders to the LSS website to view the most current laboratory fee schedule.

      The public comment period ends January 27, 2019.  Additional details, including a full draft of the proposed rule changes may be found here.    https://hhs.texas.gov/laws-regulations/policies-rules/health-human-services-rulemaking

      Posted January 10, 2019 


      RESULTS ARE JUST A CLICK AWAY…

       

      Sign up for a free online account today!


      Available remote data systems:  

      • Newborn Screening (NBS) Results via Neometrics
      • Clinical Chemistry (THSTEPS) Results via Results-Web Portal
      • Public Health Microbiology (PH) Results via Results-Web Portal 
      • Public Health Microbiology (PHLIMS for Epidemiologists) Results via Results-Web Portal (LabWare)   


      Signing up is easy!

      To use the above remote data system(s), complete these forms:

      • One Facility Security Agreement per facility (or per Submitter ID) (pdf)
      • One Web User Access Agreement per user (pdf)  

      Once forms are completed email to: Remotelabsupport@dshs.texas.gov  

      More information about the web applications can be found on the DSHS Laboratory Services Section website here.

      Posted October 30, 2018



      ATTENTION NEWBORN SCREENING SUBMITTERS

      Hemoglobin G Reporting Resumes October 11, 2018

      Effective 10/11/2018, specimens showing possible Hemoglobin G during testing, resumed reporting as “Hemoglobin G”.

      For questions or comments:

      Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or for local calls 512-776-7333
      Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

      Posted October 16, 2018



      Texas Department of State Health Services - Laboratory

      Thanksgiving Holiday Closure Reminders

      The Texas DSHS Laboratory in Austin will be closed:
      11/22/2018 - Thursday
      11/23/2018 – Friday


      Newborn Screening (NBS) 

      Testing Notices:

      • NBS specimens received and accessioned on Wednesday, 11/21/2018 will be tested immediately by the NBS laboratory.
      • Healthcare providers may be notified of critical level preliminary presumptive positive results on Thursday, 11/22/2018 (Thanksgiving Day).
      • NBS testing will resume on Saturday, 11/24/2018.
      • Healthcare providers may be notified of critical level preliminary presumptive positive results on Sunday, 11/25/2018.

      Healthcare Provider Reminders: 

      • DO NOT delay collection or shipment of newborn screening specimens.
      • Ship dried specimens within 24 hours. If mail or courier services are unavailable, ship as quickly as possible.

       


      Clinical Chemistry

      Testing Notices:

      • The Clinical Chemistry laboratory must receive specimen submissions for total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid/cholesterol and creatinine testing by Wednesday, 11/21/2018 to complete testing prior to the holiday.
      • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid profile, glucose, or creatinine specimens on Fridays or on the day before a state-observed holiday.

      Healthcare Provider Reminders:

      • Specimens submitted for lead and total hemoglobin testing must be received within 14 days of collection.
      • Specimens submitted for glucose, lipid/cholesterol and creatinine testing must be received according to specimen submission guidelines available at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/lab/mrs_labtests_toc.shtm
              

      Microbiology

      Testing Notices:

      • Specimens for rabies testing should be shipped via Greyhound Bus.  Specimens received between 8 AM and noon on Wednesday, 11/21/2018 will be tested Friday, 11/23/2018 and positive results will be called out before noon. 
      • Emergency testing will be available on Friday, 11/23/2018 and Saturday, 11/24/2018 by arrangement with laboratory personnel (512-776-7595) if specimen receipt can be guaranteed.   Negative specimen results will be available Monday, 11/26/2018.  All other specimens will be tested on Monday, 11/26/2018 and reported before 5 PM.


      Healthcare Provider Reminders:

      • Viral Isolation Laboratory:  Do not ship specimens Wednesday, 11/21/2018 – Sunday, 11/25/2018.  If specimens are collected during this time period, please store at -70°C or below and ship specimens the following week, beginning Monday, 11/26/2018 on dry ice.
      • Mycobacteriology/Mycology Laboratory (TB): To receive expedited AFB Smear and/or NAAfor M. tuberculosis test results before the holiday, please ensure that specimens are delivered to the laboratory by 8:30 AM on Wednesday, 11/21/2018. Please telephone expedited test requests to 512-776-7342.

         

      Questions? Contact the Texas DSHS Laboratory:

      Call toll free: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 7318 or for local calls 512-776-7318

      Email: LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov

      NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

      Or: mailto:ClinicalChemistry@dshs.texas.gov

      Posted October 2, 2018



      The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory Services Section  is proposing changes to the Texas Administrative Code (TAC).

      The purpose of the changes is to repeal rules §73.54 and §73.55 related to the Fee Schedule for Clinical Testing and Newborn Screening, as well as Chemical Analyses, from TAC. Additionally, rule §73.41 will be amended to direct stakeholders to the LSS website to view the most current laboratory fee schedule.

      Changes to the Laboratory’s Public Fee Schedule will be made based on the business needs of the LSS and the public health needs of the department and posted on the Laboratory’s website for stakeholder review. Changes to available laboratory testing and related pricing may include implementing new testing methodologies, updating fees to reflect the cost of testing, and eliminating certain low volume tests to make more efficient use of staff time and to reduce costs. Any increase in fees may include processes for stakeholder input as well as customer communication regarding all changes to the fee schedule.

      A full draft of the proposed rule changes may be found in the draft rules section here. https://hhs.texas.gov/laws-regulations/policies-rules/health-human-services-rulemaking

      For questions or comments please contact Martha Thompson at martha.thompson@dshs.texas.gov or 

      (512) 776-6191 by August 31, 2018.

      Posted August 20, 2018  


      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.

      "Department of State Health Services Rider 37 Stakeholder Meeting Presentation Link July 12, 2018"  

      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 August 3, 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.govor 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 November 20, 2019