Letter to Practitioners

May 19, 2014

Dear Practitioner:

This letter is to inform you of upcoming changes in the Nevada Newborn Screening Program.

As you're aware, the blood spot laboratory analyses is currently provided by Oregon Public Health Laboratory (OPHL). In 2011, the Nevada State Legislature passed Senate Bill 131, an initiative to perform Newborn Screening in the State of Nevada as part of the State's economic mission to diversify its economy. The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL) was given first priority to conduct the newborn screening program that includes newborn screening analyses and follow up program statewide. To start the transition, NSPHL, already a part of the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, partnered with the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Community Health Sciences, and Department of Health & Human Services to develop a framework and operational plan to fully implement both Newborn Screening analytical and follow-up case management through the University system. The analytical component will be located at the NSPHL in Reno and will officially start on 7/1/2014. The case management/follow-up component will be managed statewide with personnel in Reno, Carson City and Las Vegas. There may be personnel located in rural Nevada as well as contracted clinicians out of state.

The benefits of having the laboratory services done within state include improved transit, improved turn-around time for test results, improved communication/teamwork, and facilitation of prompt treatment for affected infants. Historically, the NBS program has been funded primarily through the birth registration fees. Unfortunately, the current fee is not sufficient to effectively transition the NBS program. To help offset the cost of bringing back the analytical component of screening to NSPHL and creating a Nevada specific follow up network, we must start charging parents/guardian for single blood spot specimen cards effective 7/1/2014. The fee only applies if parents/guardian loses the second part of a double kit provided by hospitals/birthing centers. We ask for your assistance in educating the parents about the importance of bringing in the second specimen card to avoid the fee.

We are committed to providing you with excellent analytical and follow-up case management services and believe we can jointly serve the babies and their families efficiently and effectively and do it with a Nevada focus in mind. We thank you for understanding and look forward to working with you.

Enclosed is a copy of the new fee guidelines for the newborn blood spot specimen cards and other important information related to the transition. Please feel free to contact us for questions or concerns.

Best Regards,

Ofelia Gentscheff, MA, MRC, CRC
Newborn Screening Follow Up Coordinator

Stephanie Van Hooser, MBA, MLS (ASCP), CLS
Administrative Director

Trudy Larson, MD
School of Community Health Sciences