California Newborn Screening Program
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long will it take to receive a results mailer for my patient once the newborn screening specimen is collected?
- How do I find out an NBS result if I do not receive it in the mail?
- I have sent the NBS Program an address correction several times and my patients’ NBS results are still being sent to my old address.
- How does the NBS Program define six days of age or sixth day of life?
- How long after a protein feed must we wait before collecting the NBS specimen so that the PKU screen is valid?
- I noticed the NBS specimen collection form has a box for CORD BLOOD. Does this mean that we can use cord blood rather than sticking the newborns?
How long will it take to receive a results mailer for my patient once the newborn screening specimen is collected?
After being collected, the specimen takes about one to five days to get to the regional laboratory. Within one to two days of laboratory testing, all inadequate and initial positive results are called out to physicians; however, the written report takes longer. The test results are transmitted via computer from the regional laboratory to Richmond. It usually takes one day for testing by the regional laboratory and one day for quality control review by the State laboratory. Once reviewed, the results mailer is sent from Richmond to the hospital and the physician of record. On average you should allow 10 to 14 days from the time the specimen is collected until the physician of record and the hospital receive the Newborn Screening Results Mailer. Please keep in mind that local mail delivery service may affect the time it takes to receive the results from the NBS Program. NBS Program Regulations require that hospitals check their records for newborn screening results 14 days after the baby’s discharge and to notify the NBS Program of any missing results.
How do I find out a NBS result if I do not receive it in the mail?
Hospitals and pediatric care providers can obtain a copy of the NBS Results Mailer by contacting the local Area Service Center Newborn Screening Coordinator or the California Department of Public Health, Genetic Disease Screening Program office at (510) 412-1541. A Newborn Screening Results Mailer (a report of each baby’s initial test results) is mailed to the hospital that drew the specimen and to the newborn’s physician of record, as noted on the demographic sheet of the screening form. This NBS Result Mailer should be in both the hospital chart and the pediatric care provider’s office chart.
I have sent the NBS Program an address correction several times and my patients’ NBS results are still being sent to my old address.
NBS Program keeps a database with physicians’ names and addresses used for mailing correspondence and for redirecting any NBS results that are undeliverable and returned by the post office. If your NBS results are being sent to the wrong address, please contact the nursery of the hospital that is listing the wrong address on the NBS specimen collection forms and advise them of your address change. There may be some old standing orders that need correcting.
How does the NBS Program define six days of age or sixth day of life?
Six days of age as defined by NBS Program means from the time a baby begins the sixth twenty-four-hour period until it is ended, i.e., from 120 to 144 hours.
How long after a protein feed must we wait before collecting the NBS specimen so that the PKU screen is valid?
A protein feed is not necessary before collecting the NBS specimen. A newborn has been receiving phenylalanine in utero. California's laboratory testing methodology is a very sensitive quantitative one that does not require a further protein challenge. Therefore, follow the NBS guidelines for collecting specimens after 12 hours of age.
I notice the NBS specimen collection form has a box for CORD BLOOD. Does this mean that we can use cord blood rather than sticking the newborns?
NO! You should only submit cord blood to the NBS Program if a newborn has been transfused prior to the heelstick NBS collection. If you still have available a nonhemolyzed cord blood specimen that is also free of clots, you can spot it on the filter paper, identify the specimen as cord blood and report the specimen collection date and time to be the same as the birth date and time. The combination of a cord blood specimen (valid for the galactosemia and hemoglobin screens) and the 24-hour post-transfusion specimen (valid for the PKU and hypothyroidism screens) will allow you to obtain a complete screen for a transfused newborn.