Austin Laboratory Correspondence and Bulletins

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See also South Texas Laboratory Correspondence and Bulletins.



DSHS-SOUTH TEXAS LABORATORY

Veterans’ Day Holiday Closure:

Departments at South Texas Laboratory in Harlingen will be closed Wednesday, November 11, 2020.

   

TB Elimination submitters, keep in mind specimen stability times for specimens collected Monday, November 9 and Tuesday, November 10. Specimens collected on Monday, 11/9 should be shipped the same day. Specimens collected on Tuesday, 11/10 risk temperature (due to ice packs thawing) and stability issues if shipped same day and not received by the laboratory until Thursday, 11/12.

Chemistries are stable for 48 hours or longer if aliquots are frozen and shipped on cold packs. CBCs are stable for 48 hours (do not freeze CBCs).   

 

Cameron and Hidalgo County submitters, please deliver specimens by 3:00 pm on Tuesday, November 10 to ensure testing is completed.

       

THE LABORATORY WILL RESUME NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS ON

Thursday, November 12.

     

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

           

        THANK YOU

        Posted Oct 21, 2020


        The DSHS Austin Laboratory has implemented a new multiplex assay for Flu Surveillance specimens


        Starting October 05, 2020, the DSHS Austin Laboratory will be performing the CDC Influenza SARS-CoV-2 (Flu SC2) Multiplex Assay for Flu surveillance specimens. The CDC Influenza SARS-CoV-2 (Flu SC2) Multiplex Assay is a real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test that detects and differentiates RNA from SARS-CoV-2, influenza A virus, and influenza B virus in upper or lower respiratory specimens. More information on the assay can be found at the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/multiplex.html.

         

        At this time, this assay will only be provided to established submitters enrolled in the Flu Surveillance Program.  Positive influenza A and B specimens will continue to be subtyped using the CDC Human Influenza Virus Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel as resources allow. All current COVID-19 testing activities will continue and will not be affected by the addition of the new assay.

         

         

        For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

        Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

        DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center:  2-1-1 Option 6 
        Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Friday  

        Posted Oct 06, 2020


        Changes to the Texas DSHS Laboratory Fee Schedule

           

        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, 2021. Stakeholders can submit comments until December 30, 2020 at LabInfo@dshs.texas.gov or by mail at:  Laboratory Services Section, Attn. Fee Schedule Changes, PO Box 149347, Austin, TX 78714-9347.  

        Fee schedule changes:

        Visit https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/lab/Fees/90-day-notice---Jan-2021-Fee-Schedule-Notice---full-letter-for-website.pdf to view all proposed fee schedule changes, including:

        • fee changes to existing tests,
        • new tests added, and
        • existing tests discontinued.

        The new fee schedules will be posted to the DSHS Laboratory website by January 1, 2021.  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 may also be revised.  Revised submission forms would be provided to you no later than December 31, 2020 for use beginning January 1, 2021.  

        Thank you for your continued partnership and support.

        Posted Oct 01, 2020


        The DSHS Austin Laboratory Expands COVID-19 Testing Capabilities With The Aptima® SARS-CoV-2 Assay


        Starting October 1, 2020, the DSHS Austin Laboratory will expand its COVID-19 testing capabilities by introducing the Aptima® SARS-CoV-2 Assay (Hologic Panther® system). This test is designed to detect the nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in respiratory specimens. All current COVID-19 testing activities will continue and will not be affected by the addition of the new assay.

        Specimens will not be tested without prior Epidemiologist (Epi) approval.  Contact your Regional and/or Local Health Department (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) and obtain Epi approval to test.

        • Find specimen collection and submission instructions here
        • Required Forms: G-2V Specimen Submission Form
        • Acceptable specimen criteria:
          • NP, nasal and OP swab specimens in Viral Transport Medium (VTM), Universal Transport Medium (UTM), Liquid Amies, or 0.85% Saline.
          • Shipping Requirements 
            • if DSHS receives within 3 days of collection ─ ship cold at +2-8°C
            • if DSHS receives > 3 days of collection ─ frozen/dry ice at -20°C or colder

        For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

        Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

        DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center:  2-1-1 Option 6 
        Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Monday – Friday  

        Posted Oct 01, 2020


        DSHS Laboratory – Microbiological Sciences Branch Notice


        Starting October 1, 2020, the Texas DSHS Laboratory will be changing the testing criteria for Carbapenem-Resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPA) isolates following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

        Please submit P. aeruginosa isolates for testing if they meet both criteria below:

        1.     resistant (MIC ≥ 8 μg/ml) to at least one of the following antibiotics ─ imipenem, meropenem, doripenem

        2.     non-susceptible (intermediate or resistant, MIC ≥ 16 μg/ml) to cefepime or ceftazidime

        If your facility does not test for cefepime and/or ceftazidime resistance, you are encouraged to continue sending all P. aeruginosa isolates that meet the first criteria for further testing. For questions, please email TexasARLN@dshs.texas.gov

        Posted September 22, 2020


        REMINDER NOTICE: EXPIRING BLOOD COLLECTION TUBES


        Type of Tube: 2mL Purple Top Venous Tube (K2EDTA)

        Lot #: 9158890

        Expiration Date: 09/30/2020

        Specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected!

               What to do next:

        • Review your stock, discard any expired tubes
        • Order new supplies
          • Fax order to (512) 776-7672  

                For questions call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 6236.

        To see previous notices, please visit http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/cc_notices.shtm

        Posted September 16, 2020


        NOTICE: EXPIRING BLOOD COLLECTION TUBES


        Type of Tube: 2mL Purple Top Venous Tube (K2EDTA)

        Lot #: 9158890

        Expiration Date: 09/30/2020

        Specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected!

               What to do next:

        • Review your stock, discard any expired tubes
        • Order new supplies
          • Fax order to (512) 776-7672

                For questions call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 6236.

        To see previous notices, please visit http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/cc_notices.shtm

        Posted September 1, 2020


        NOTICE: EXPIRING BLOOD COLLECTION TUBES


        Type of Tube: 6 mL Red Top Serum Tube (Silicone Coated)

        Lot #: 9093735, 9081760

        Expiration Date: 8/31/2020

        Specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected!

               What to do next:

        • Review your stock, discard any expired tubes
        • Order new supplies; fax order to (512) 776-7672

               For questions call: 1-888-963-7111 ext. 6236.

        To see previous notices, please visit http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/cc_notices.shtm 

        Posted Jul 03, 2020


        Changes to Newborn Screening Result Reporting Statements

        The Texas DSHS Newborn Screening (NBS) Laboratory is updating the result reporting statements for the following abnormal results to reflect the current Clinical Care Coordination follow up care recommendations. These updates are scheduled to go into effect August 10, 2020. All changes are indicated in red.

        Overall Result

        Disorder

        Screening Result

        New/Revised Screening Result Note

        Abnormal   

        Amino Acid Disorders

        Abnormal

        Possible Argininemia. Arginine Elevated. Recommend plasma ammonia, plasma quantitative amino acids and urine orotic acid within 48 hours and immediate telephone consultation with a pediatric metabolic specialist.

        Abnormal   

        Fatty Acid Disorders

        Abnormal

        Possible VLCAD. C14:1 Slightly Elevated. Recommend plasma acylcarnitine profile and plasma (free and total) carnitine within 24 hours and immediate telephone consultation with a pediatric metabolic specialist. DNA report to follow.

        Abnormal   

        Fatty Acid Disorders

        Abnormal

        Possible VLCAD. C14:1 Elevated. Recommend plasma acylcarnitine profile and plasma (free and total) carnitine within 24 hours and immediate telephone consultation with a pediatric metabolic specialist. DNA report to follow.

        Abnormal   

        Organic Acid Disorders

        Abnormal

        Possible Methylmalonic Acidemia or Propionic Acidemia. C3 Elevated. Recommend plasma methylmalonic acid, total plasma homocysteine, plasma acylcarnitine profile and urine organic acids within 24 hours and immediate telephone consultation with a pediatric metabolic specialist.

        Abnormal   

        Organic Acid Disorders

        Abnormal

        Possible Methylmalonic Acidemia or Propionic Acidemia. C3 Slightly Elevated; C3/C2 Elevated. Recommend plasma methylmalonic acid, total plasma homocysteine, plasma acylcarnitine profile and urine organic acids within 24 hours and immediate telephone consultation with a pediatric metabolic specialist.

        Abnormal   

        Galactosemia

        Abnormal

        Possible Galactosemia. GALT activity Low. If this is the first screen, recommend serum GALT enzyme within 24 hours and immediate telephone consultation with a pediatric metabolic specialist. Otherwise, follow recommendations received from Clinical Care Coordination. DNA report to follow.

        A full list of all possible results can be found here: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/nbs/results/.

        Reminders:

        • Read Screening Result Notes fully before taking action.
        • Contact laboratory with any questions:
          • Telephone: 1-888-963-7111 X7585 or x2638 
          • Email: NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.tx.gov

        Posted Jul 24, 2020


        DSHS Laboratory – Microbiological Sciences Branch Notice


        The DSHS Laboratory has implemented the use of whole genome sequencing (WGS) for the identification and serotyping of some Salmonella spp. in human clinical specimens. WGS will be used on a limited number of Salmonella spp. surveillance samples to provide Organism ID and Serotype. This information will be included in the reports for selected clinical samples submitted on or after July 20, 2020.

        • This additional information cannot be provided for samples submitted previously.
        • All clinical samples submitted will be processed for surveillance purposes. Only a portion of these samples will be sequenced to provide this additional information.

        There will be no changes to the specimen submission or reporting process.

        Please contact the DSHS Microbiology laboratory with any questions you have at Lab.Microbiology@dshs.texas.gov.

        Posted Jul 20, 2020


        Urgent – Assistance Needed

         

        Due to a recent incident, Data Rush Couriers, DSHS Laboratory’s third party courier, may be contacting you in an effort to gather needed information related to specimen submission. Please cooperate with their information gathering efforts as quickly as possible so that regulatory timelines may be met.

        Posted July 09, 2020


        DSHS-SOUTH TEXAS LABORATORY

        Independence Day Holiday Closure:

         

        Departments at South Texas Laboratory in Harlingen will be closed at 12:00 pm on

        Friday, July 3, 2020:

         

        THE LABORATORY WILL RESUME NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS ON

        Monday, July 6, 2020

         

        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 26, 2020


        Attention

        Holiday Notice


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

        • July 3, 2020
        • September 4, 2020 – September 7, 2020

        Reminder:  Due to the ongoing COVID-19 response efforts, bacteriology water samples are accepted Monday – Thursday 8am – 2pm (Except Federal Holidays).

        Posted June 25, 2020


        NOTICE: EXPIRING BLOOD COLLECTION TUBES

        Type of Tube: 2mL Purple Top Venous Tube (K2EDTA)

        Lot #: 9065783

        Expiration Date: 06/30/2020

         Please review your stock, discarding any that are expired. 

        Specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected!

        Questions?

        Call (512)776-6236

        To order new supplies, fax an order to (512)776-7672.

        To see previous notices, please visit http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/cc_notices.shtm

        Posted May 26, 2020



        LabOnline:

        New Web Portal for Public Health and Clinical Chemistry Results

         

        The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Laboratory Services Section (LSS) announces the roll out of LabOnline beginning June 1, 2020.

        Through this new and improved Web Portal, approved healthcare providers may access Public Health and Clinical Chemistry test results online 24 / 7.

         Signing up is easy!

        To request access:

        Once your request has been processed, you will receive an email containing your User ID and a temporary password.

        To streamline account set up and ensure proper system security, please note the following restrictions:

        • DSHS must require new forms for facilities and users that had previous agreements on file.
        • DSHS can no longer accept older versions of the application forms.
        • DSHS can no longer allow access for users applying with a personal email address 


        Thank you for your continued partnership and support.

        Posted May 26, 2020


        NOTICE: EXPIRING BLOOD COLLECTION TUBES


        Type of Tube: 2mL (K2EDTA) purple top venous tubes

        Lot #: 9036741

        Expiration Date: 05/31/2020


         Please review your stock, discarding any that are expired. 

        Specimens collected in expired tubes will be rejected!

        Questions?

        Call (512)776-6236

        To order new supplies, fax an order to (512)776-7672.  

        Posted May 21, 2020 


        Notice - Updated Specimen Submission Forms and Instructions  


        The DSHS Laboratory recently updated the G-THSTEPS and G-1B submission form instructions to clarify the two-patient specific identifier requirement in Section 2. Patient Information

        New versions of the G-THSteps and G-1B specimen submission forms with pre-populated submitter information were mailed to the DSHS Laboratory active submitters in January. Providers are asked to verify that the submitter contact information is correct on the new specimen submission form. If it is not correct, please contact the Laboratory Reporting Group to update your information. 

        All previous versions of specimen submission forms and instructions should be destroyed.  Only current versions, dated January 2020 should be used to submit specimens to the DSHS Laboratory.

        For more information regarding DSHS Laboratory Submission Forms, including current sample submission forms and instructions, visit the DSHS Laboratory website at http://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/mrs_forms.shtm.

        For questions or comments, please contact the Laboratory Reporting Group at 1-888-963-7111 extension 7578 or Tiffunee Odoms at 512-776-6275.

        Posted May 20, 2020


        DSHS TB/HIV/STD Section to Move Starting May 18


        The DSHS TB/HIV/STD Section will move to a new physical location between May 18 and May 29, 2020. Due to COVID-19 precautions, the physical work location of most staff will not change until those precautions are modified. However, phone numbers, fax numbers, and the delivery address will change in stages:

        May 18: The main section phone number will change to 737-255-4300. Some section fax machines and staff phone numbers will change. The physical delivery address will change to 201 West Howard Lane, Austin, Texas 78753. The mailing address will not change (DSHS TB/HIV/STD Section, Post Office Box 149347, MC 1873, Austin, Texas 78714). Please do not send deliveries to the new physical address until the location is staffed.

        May 22: Fax and phone numbers for the HIV/STD Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch will change.

        May 29: Fax and phone numbers for the Texas HIV Medication Program and Tuberculosis and Hansen's Disease Branch will change.

        Unchanged by the move: Section staff email addresses. Section web addresses. The Texas HIV Medication Program 1-800 number.

        Stakeholders will be informed of the changed phone and fax information directly by DSHS staff. To learn more, contact Section staff, call the current Section phone number 512-533-3000, or email the section.  

        Posted April 13, 2020


        Notice regarding COVID-19 testing at the DSHS Austin Laboratory

        As of Monday, April 13, 2020, the Texas DSHS Austin Laboratory will begin utilizing the PerkinElmer New Coronavirus Nucleic Acid Detection Kit and chemagic extraction platform to expand capacity for COVID-19 testing.  The CDC 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Real-Time RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel will continue to be available until current supply resources are exhausted.

        • Acceptable specimens include:

        o   Nasopharyngeal (NP) or oropharyngeal (OP) swabs, combined NP/OP swabs, and nasal swabs in Viral Transport Media (VTM), Universal Transport Media (UTM), liquid Amies media, and sterile saline.

        ****Please continue to use the COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions for specimen collection, handling, and shipping guidance.****

        ALL specimens for COVID-19 testing require preapproval.   Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) to ensure patient meets Patient Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet DSHS PUI criteria prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval.  Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

        For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

        https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

        Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

        DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center:  2-1-1 Option 6 
        Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week  

        Posted April 13, 2020


        Notice regarding testing and submission of specimens for COVID-19 testing to the DSHS Austin Laboratory

         

        As of April 6, 2020, the Texas DSHS Laboratory has made the following changes regarding acceptable specimens for COVID-19 testing. 

        1.  The DSHS Interim COVID-19 Case Report Form (found at htps://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/public-health.aspx) is no longer required with sample submission.

         

        For further details, please see the COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions located on the DSHS Laboratory website

        PUI ID is no longer required.  However, ALL specimens for COVID-19 testing require preapproval.   Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) to ensure patient meets Patient Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet DSHS PUI criteria prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval.  Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

        For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

        https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

        Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov 

        DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center:  2-1-1 Option 6 
        Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week  

        Posted April 6, 2020


        Notice regarding the impacts of COVID-19 response to the DSHS Austin Laboratory


        Due to ongoing DSHS Laboratory COVID-19 response efforts, the following microbiological testing areas may experience delays in laboratory results reporting, effective April 1, 2020:

        Fungal isolate identification*

        Parasitology identification*

        Influenza surveillance testing

        Mosquito surveillance testing

        Gonorrhea/Chlamydia/Hepatitis C specimen testing

        *Specimens for Candida auris testing and for malaria testing will not be affected and will follow regular testing schedules. 

         

        In addition, testing for foodborne outbreak investigations, including whole genome sequencing, for Listeria will continue but testing for Salmonella, Escherichia coli and other foodborne bacteria will be upon epidemiologist request only.

         

        An updated notification will be issued when routine laboratory testing resumes.

        For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

        https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

        Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov 

        DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center: 1-877-570-9779
        Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week 

        Posted April 2, 2020


        Notice regarding testing and submission of specimens for COVID-19 testing to the DSHS Austin Laboratory


        As of April 1, 2020, the Texas DSHS Laboratory has made the following changes regarding acceptable specimens for COVID-19 testing. 

        1.   The recommended specimen type is still a Nasopharyngeal (NP) swab (Dacron-tipped with a plastic or aluminum shaft) in viral transport media (VTM). If VTM is unavailable Universal Transport Media (UTM), Amies, or 0.85% Saline may be substituted.

        2.   Nasal swabs and nasal mid-turbinate (NMT) swabs are now acceptable.  Oropharyngeal (OP) swabs are still an acceptable specimen type.

        **Please continue to send a single specimen.  If multiple specimens are received, only 1 swab will be tested in an effort to maximize resources.**

        3.   The DSHS Interim COVID-19 Case Report Form (found at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/public-health.aspxmust be included with each sample submission.

        For further details, please see the “Specimen Types” and “Specimen Collection and Handling” Sections of the COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions located on the DSHS Laboratory website

        PUI ID is no longer required.  However, ALL specimens for COVID-19 testing require preapproval.   Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) to ensure patient meets Patient Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet DSHS PUI criteria prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval.  Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

        For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

        https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

        Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

        DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center: 1-877-570-9779 
        Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week 

        Posted April 1, 2020


        COVID-19 and Newborn Screening

        During this time of extraordinary challenge, the DSHS Newborn Screening (NBS) Program appreciates the dedication and commitment of healthcare providers to ensure the best possible outcomes for Texas newborns.

         

        Q: Has DSHS altered guidance for collection of newborn screens?

        A: No. The 1st newborn screen should be collected between 24 - 48 hours of age, or before hospital discharge. The 2nd newborn screen should be collected on every infant at 1-2 weeks of age.

        DSHS recognizes that healthcare providers may require adjustments to newborn screening protocols. 

        Completely and accurately fill out all information requested on the collection kits.

        Incomplete or inaccurate demographic information can result in specimen rejection, incorrect results, or delay in initiation of follow-up on out of range results.

        Ensure parent contact information (phone number and address) is current.

        Advise parent to select a pediatrician and attempt to make the first appointment prior to leaving the hospital. Enter pediatrician contact information on the collection kit.

         

        Q: What if a parent is requesting early discharge to socially isolate themselves and their newborn?

        A: Collect the first screen immediately prior to discharge.

         

        Q: For 2nd screens, what if our facility is unable to provide a location to collect the specimen?

        A: If necessary, explore the availability of other collection locations such as an outpatient clinic or reference laboratory.  If no alternative can be identified, ensure a screen is collected as soon as can be safely scheduled.

        The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends pediatricians continue to see newborns and infants for preventive care. AAP CoVID-19 guidance includes:

        • Delaying care for newborns and other vulnerable children during this time could have devastating consequences for their health.
        • Be flexible to determine the best way to schedule patient visits to minimize the risk, including spacing out visits, modifying clinical space, or rescheduling visits for older children until a later date.
        • Pediatricians may choose to limit well visits to early morning while reserving the remainder of the day for sick visits.
        • Pediatricians are encouraged to dedicate specific rooms for sick visits and well visits; or for those with multiple practice sites to consider using one office location to see all well visits (staffed by those in higher risk categories).

         

        Q: What if a 2nd screen cannot be collected in the recommended timeframe of 7-14 days of age?

        A: Collect the 2nd screen as soon as conditions allow. This ensures the earliest possible interventions for affected babies.  DSHS does not reject specimens collected on older children, but NBS testing methodologies have been designed to minimize the number of false negative and false positive results in newborns and young infants.

           

        Q: What if the 1st screen was out of range or unsatisfactory?

        It is imperative to ensure that another screen is collected for newborns with an out of range or unsatisfactory 1st screen. Having an unsatisfactory screen is like not being screened at all. In some situations, newborns with out of range first screens may not require diagnostic evaluation if a second screen is normal.

         

        Q: What if the parent refuses the 2nd screen?

        A: Parents can only refuse to have their child screened if the screening conflicts with a parent’s religious tenets or practices (see Texas Health & Safety Code Sec. 33.012). To refuse, a parent must sign a form stating he/she has a religious objection to newborn screening. Points to consider before refusing a second newborn screening:

        • DSHS has implemented a two-screen system to maximize the effectiveness of testing for all disorders on the Texas Newborn Screening Panel.
        • The second screen routinely detects babies at risk for severe medical complications. These babies sometimes have a normal first screen.
        • Some disorders (like cystic fibrosis) rely upon both newborn screens to reduce the number of babies who would otherwise require additional testing with a specialist to determine whether they have the condition or not.

         

        Q: Our facility has new staff assisting with specimen collection and out of range result follow-up coordination. What resources are available for quality assurance?

        A: Healthcare provider guidance on specimen collection, transport and result reporting can be found at: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/nbsHCRes.shtm 

         

        Please completely and accurately fill out all information requested on the collection kits. Incomplete or inaccurate demographic information can result in specimen rejection, incorrect results, or delay in initiation of follow-up on out of range results.

         

        Questions?

        Corona Virus in Texas:

        https://www.dshs.state.tx.us/coronavirus/

         

        Newborn Screening Laboratory:

        1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333

        NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

         

        Clinical Care Coordination:

        1-888-963-7111 ext. 3957 or 512-776-3957

        Newborn@dshs.texas.gov

        Posted March 27, 2020



        ATTENTION  BACTERIOLOGICAL WATER CUSTOMERS

        Public Water Systems and Private

        Effective March 30, 2020

        Due to the ongoing COVID-19 response efforts, the hours and times for bacteriological water receipt will change to the following starting on March, 30, 2020.

        Water samples accepted Monday – Thursday 8am – 2pm (Except Federal Holidays).

        An updated notification will be sent when we resume to our regular schedule of Monday – Thursday 8am – 4pm (Except Federal Holidays).

        For questions or comments:

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

        Posted March 26, 2020


        Notice regarding testing and submission of specimens for COVID-19 testing to the DSHS Austin Laboratory

         

        As of March 20, 2020, the Texas DSHS Laboratory has made the following changes to the COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions located on the DSHS Laboratory website. 

        1.This document applies only to the DSHS Austin Laboratory.  For information regarding submission to other Public Health Laboratories in Texas, contact your local health department.

        2.   We recommend sending only a single Nasopharyngeal swab in VTM.  Please see additional language under the section, “Specimen Types”.

        3.   A sample G-2V submission has been added to clarify instructions to fill out the form.  Sample G-2V.pdf

        ALL specimens for COVID-19 testing require preapproval.   Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) to ensure patient meets Patient Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet DSHS PUI criteria and have a state specific PUI identification number for testing prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval.  Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

        For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

        https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

        Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

        DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center: 1-877-570-9779
        Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday – Friday 

        Posted March 20, 2020


        Notice regarding testing and submission of specimens for COVID-19 testing

         

        As of March 5, 2020, the Texas DSHS Laboratory is accepting specimens per the criteria outlined in the COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions document found at COVID-19 Specimen Collection and Submission Instructions

        ALL specimens for 2019 nCoV testing require preapproval.   Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) to ensure patient meets Person Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet PUI criteria and have a state specific PUI identification number for testing prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval.  Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

        For additional information and ongoing updates regarding the COVID-19 situation, please go to:

        https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ 

        Email: coronavirus@dshs.texas.gov

        DSHS COVID‑19 Call Center: 1-877-570-9779 Hours: 7:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., Monday – Friday

        Posted March 5, 2020


        Notice regarding testing and submission of specimens for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) testing

         

        ALL specimens for 2019 nCoV testing require preapproval.   Contact your Local Health Department or DSHS Public Health Region (https://www.dshs.texas.gov/regions/2019-nCoV-Local-Health-Entities/) to ensure patient meets Patient Under Investigation (PUI) criteria for testing and to obtain DSHS approval to test. Specimens MUST meet PUI criteria for testing prior to shipping and WILL NOT be tested without prior approval.  Please DO NOT ship specimens prior to receiving this approval.

        Posted February 10, 2020


        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 here to begin the survey. 

        Please complete the survey by February 29, 2020.

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

        Posted January 30, 2020




        Newborn Screening Insurance/Self-pay Kit Fee Increase


        Q. When does the increase start?

        A. January 1, 2020.

        Q: What is the new cost of insurance/self-pay kit?

        A: The new cost for each insurance/self-pay test kit is $60.58.

        Q: Why is the fee increasing?

        A: The Texas Newborn Screening Panel has expanded to include X-linked Adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD). The increase will cover the additional costs for laboratory and follow-up services.

        Q: Who pays for the insurance/self-pay kits?

        A: DSHS will bill the healthcare provider that orders insurance/self-pay test kits. 

        • Tips for choosing and using the correct kit:
          • Use the Insurance/Self-Pay Kit (form #NBS4) for newborns covered under a private insurance plan or paying out of pocket. 
          • ONLY use the Medicaid/CHIP/Charity Kit (form #NBS3) for newborns Medicaid eligible, covered by CHIP, or that have absolutely no other payment option (as required in Texas Administrative Code, Title 25 Section 37.55).

        Q: What steps do providers take for reimbursement of the newborn screening test kit cost?

        A: 

        1) Contact each health plan or insurance company to update your facility contracts. 

        2) Verify that Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) code S3620 is updated to match the current cost for the screening kit.

        3) Submit newborn screening claims using HCPCS code S3620.

        Notes:

        • HCPCS Code S3620: Newborn metabolic screening panel includes the test kit and the laboratory tests specified by the state for inclusion in this panel. The healthcare provider may be responsible for additional costs not included in the cost of the test kit such as preparing and shipping the specimen to the DSHS Laboratory.
        • CPT code 36416: Collection of capillary blood specimen, may also be used.

        Q: What can be done if the correct reimbursement is not received?

        A:

        1) Contact the health plan or insurance company to seek resolution.

        2) If no resolution is identified:

        • For Texas Regulated Health Plans (Fully Insured and HMOs), contact:

        Texas Department of Insurance.

        https://www.tdi.texas.gov/hprovider/providercompl.html or 1-800-252-3439

        • Self-Funded Plans regulated at the federal level (Most people who have health insurance in Texas have a self-funded plan), contact:

        U. S. Department of Labor
        Division of Technical Assistance and Inquiries

        PWBA N5619

        200 Constitution Ave. NW
        Washington DC 20210
        1-866-444-3272

        • If insurance is provided by a school district, city, county or state government, a union, or church, work directly with the health plan.

        Note: DSHS does not control how insurance companies operate or the reimbursement rates that are set. 

        Questions?

        1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or 512-776-7333

        NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.texas.gov

        Posted December 13, 2019



        Laboratory Christmas and New Year Holiday Closure Reminders

         

        Newborn Screening Laboratory (NBS)

        Christmas Holiday Closed Dates: Dec. 25 – Dec. 26

        • The NBS Laboratory will test specimens received and accessioned on Dec. 24.
        • Healthcare providers may be notified of critical level preliminary presumptive positive results on Dec. 25.
        • NBS testing will resume on Dec. 27.

        New Year’s Holiday Closed Date: Jan. 1

        • The NBS Laboratory will test specimens received and accessioned on Dec. 31.
        • NBS testing will resume on Jan. 2.

        Reminders:

        • DO NOT delay collection or shipment of NBS specimens.
        • Specimens must be dried prior to shipment and should arrive at the DSHS Laboratory within 24 hours after collection or as soon as possible. If mail or courier services are unavailable, ship as quickly as possible.

         

        Clinical Chemistry Laboratory

        Christmas Holiday Closed Dates: Dec. 24 – Dec. 26

        • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid, cholesterol, and creatinine specimens must be received by Dec. 23 to complete testing before the Christmas holiday.
        • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid panel, glucose, or creatinine specimens Dec. 23 – Dec. 27.

        New Year’s Holiday Closed Date: Jan. 1

        • Total hemoglobin, lead, glucose, lipid, cholesterol, and creatinine specimens must be received by Dec. 31 to complete testing before the New Year’s holiday.
        • DO NOT ship cholesterol, lipid panel, glucose, or creatinine specimens on Dec. 31.

        Reminders:

        • Lead and total hemoglobin specimens must be received within 14 days of collection.

        https://www.dshs.texas.gov/lab/MRS_labtests_toc.shtm

         

        Microbiology Testing Notices

        Christmas Holiday Closed Dates: Dec. 24 – Dec. 26

        New Year’s Holiday Closed Date: Jan. 1

        Rabies Laboratory

        • Shipping by Greyhound Bus is highly recommended during weekends and holidays.

        Christmas

        • Rabies specimens received by 8 a.m. on Dec. 23 will be tested.
          • Positive results will be called out before 5 p.m.
        • Specimens received between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Dec. 23, will be tested on Dec. 24.
          •  Positive results will be called out by noon.
          •  Negative results will be available on Dec. 27.
        • Specimens received after 3 p.m. on Dec. 23 through 8 a.m. Dec. 27 will be tested Dec. 27.
          • Results will be called out before 5 p.m.
        • Specimens received after 8 a.m. Dec. 27, and all specimens that arrive over the weekend will be tested Dec. 30.
          • Results will be called out before 5 p.m.

        New Years

        • Specimens received between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Dec. 31 will be tested on Jan. 1.
          • Positive results will be called out by noon.
          • Negative results will be available on Jan. 2.
        • Specimens received after 3 p.m. on Dec. 31 and before 8 a.m. on Jan. 2 will be tested on Jan. 2.
          • Results will be called out before 5 p.m.
        • Emergency testing is available on Dec. 24, Dec. 26, Dec. 28 and Jan. 2 by arrangement with laboratory personnel (512-776-7595).
          • Specimen receipt must be guaranteed by 8 a.m. on the day of testing.

        Viral Isolation Laboratory 

        • DO NOT ship specimens for delivery Dec. 24 through Dec. 26. 
          • Store specimens collected during this time at -70°C or below.
          • Ship specimens on dry ice for delivery on Dec. 27.
        • DO NOT ship specimens for delivery Dec. 31 through Jan. 1. 
          • Store specimens collected during this time at -70°C or below.
          • Ship specimens on dry ice for delivery on Jan. 2.

        Mycobacteriology/Mycology Laboratory

        • To receive expedited AFB Smear and NAA for M. tuberculosis test results before the Christmas holiday:
          • Ensure specimens are delivered to the laboratory by 8 a.m. on Dec. 23.
          • For expedited test requests call 512-776-7342.
        • DO NOT ship specimens Dec. 23 through Dec. 25.
          • Store collected specimens in the refrigerator and ship for delivery on Dec. 27. 
        • DO NOT ship specimens to be delivered on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1. 
          • Store collected specimens in refrigerator and ship for delivery on Jan. 2.

        Serology Laboratory

        • DO NOT ship specimens Dec. 23 through Dec. 25.
          • Serum should be separated from the clot and frozen.
          • Ship with sufficient dry ice to keep serum frozen for delivery on Dec. 27. 
        • DO NOT ship specimens to be delivered on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1. 
          • Serum should be separated from the clot and frozen.
          • Ship with sufficient dry ice to keep serum frozen for delivery on Jan. 2.

        Advanced Molecular Microbiology Laboratory

        • DO NOT ship specimens for CPO colonization testing to be received the following dates:
          • Dec. 23 through Dec. 27
          • Dec. 31 through Jan. 1
        • DO NOT ship specimens for other bacteria testing to be received the following dates:
          • Dec. 24 through Dec. 26
          • Dec. 31 through Jan. 1

        Bacteriology Water Samples

        • Water samples will not be accepted the following dates:
          • Dec. 23 through Dec. 27
          • Dec. 31 through Jan. 1

        Supply Order Requests

        • Priority overnight shipping requests received on or before Dec. 20 will be processed as normal.
        • Requests received by noon on Dec. 23 will be sent FedEx Ground.
        • Requests received after noon on Dec. 23 through Dec. 26 will be processed on Dec. 27.
        • Requests received on Dec. 27 will be processed Dec. 30. 

        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

        Posted November 1, 2019


        Result Report Delay Notice

        Beginning November 12, 2019, the DSHS Laboratory has delayed reporting of results for a small subset of newborn screening specimens due to testing instrument issues.

        All previously reported results are considered accurate and not affected by this issue.

        Mitigating steps have been completed and all delayed results are expected by November 22.

        What specimens are affected?

        Specimens received at the laboratory on or after November 8, 2019, which required additional second tier testing for X-ALD only. This was approximately three percent of specimens received or ~ 600 blood spots.

        How does this impact newborn screening test results?

        • Testing for all other newborn screening disorders has not been delayed.
        • Clinical Care Coordination staff have continued to contact providers for all out of range results as soon as testing has been completed.
        • Clinical Care Coordination staff will contact providers about out of range X-ALD results upon completion of testing.

        What action should healthcare submitters take?

        • Ensure receipt of a final report for all results.
        • Read all screening result notes and follow recommendations.
        • Follow instructions from clinical care coordination nurses on ALL abnormal newborn screening results.

        Questions?

        1-888-963-7111 ext. 7333 or for local calls 512-776-7333

        NewbornScreeningLab@dshs.state.tx.us

        Posted December 12, 2019





        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 October 23, 2020