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Colorado Newborn Screening Laboratory Adds Weekend Hours

March 17, 2015

DENVER — Starting April 4, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Newborn Screening Lab will be open Saturdays. Newborn screening “heel stick” tests will be run on Saturdays and time-critical abnormal results will be reported to health care providers on Sundays.

In addition to expanded hours, the department and the Colorado Hospital Association recently completed a project to identify ways to refine the newborn screening process. The project focused on blood collection time, blood collection techniques, lab forms and transportation issues and included all steps in the process.

“Newborn screening is a complex system,” said department Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Larry Wolk. “Hospitals and birthing centers, clinicians, couriers, and our lab and follow-up staff all play a vital role. We and our partners are committed to ensuring everyone works together to achieve the best outcomes for infants.”

Colorado regulations require that blood be collected for a newborn screen no later than 48 hours after birth, and the state lab recommends samples be collected at 24 hours after birth. Samples must be run no later than 24 hours after receipt, and abnormal results must be reported immediately. These and other rules and recommendations align with national guidelines proposed by the Association of Public Health Laboratories.

2015 marks the 50th anniversary of newborn screening in Colorado. Currently, the state screens for 35 inherited disorders. Screening allows for early diagnosis and treatment that prevents cognitive disabilities, developmental delays, organ damage and, in some cases, death. In 2014, the state lab received more than 150,000 samples and performed almost 900,000 analyses. More than 1,000 follow-up calls were made to health care providers.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Mark Salley, Communications Director | 303-692-2013 |

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