DPHHS Addresses Newborn Screening - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

DPHHS Addresses Newborn Screening

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HELENA -

Montana's newborn screening is a public health program used to find serious but treatable conditions that may affect newborns early in life. The screening is said to save lives when healthcare facilities act promptly and follow protocol, but could delays in transporting and processing those samples have negative effects on newborns?

The Montana Center for Investigative Reporting found in their investigation that there is widespread problem of newborn blood samples being delivered late to in-state and out-of-state health laboratories. Ron Paul, the head of the DPHHS Laboratory Services Bureau said that the process of transporting and testing these newborn screening samples is the most efficient way possible. The screening program said it can potentially protect newborn babies from 29 life-threatening conditions that it tests for. The results often reassure families' hopes that their baby is healthy.

DPHHS insisted that although they are constantly analyzing and looking to improve the systems they have in place, they couldn't be happier with the current newborn screening program. Paul added that because of the nature of Montana being such a rural state, sometimes getting those samples to the lab in Helena can take longer than one would desire. However, the discrepancy has not appeared to have put any newborns at risk thus far. After those samples arrive in Helena, the last part of testing is completed in Wisconsin.

Paul said that having those final tests done out of state does not cause further delay, but makes testing more thorough and efficient. The lab in Wisconsin communicates any problematic results as soon as they are discovered.

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