What Conditions are Screened For in Minnesota?
Amino Acid Disorders
Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders
Organic Acid Conditions
- State preferred name: Critical congenital heart defect
About Newborn Screening in Minnesota
Since 1965, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has screened Minnesota newborns soon after birth to see if they are at risk for rare, hidden disorders. If left untreated, these disorders can lead to illness, physical disability, developmental delay, or death. By identifying these disorders early, however, interventions, medications, or changes in diet can help prevent most health problems caused by the disorders on the newborn screening panel.
The Newborn Screening Program, together with hospitals, laboratories, and medical professionals across the state, screens newborns for more than 50 disorders that affect metabolism, hormones, the immune system, blood, breathing, digestion, hearing, or the heart.
- To screen all Minnesota infants.
- To identify infants with rare, hidden disorders or with hearing loss at an early age when treatment and intervention can prevent health problems, help facilitate development, and save lives.
- To ensure that all infants with abnormal newborn screens have access to prompt diagnostic assessments and receive early intervention services.
- To improve systems for follow-up, reporting, and connection to services for infants identified by newborn screening.
Newborn screening in Minnesota consists of three tests: blood spot screening, hearing screening, and pulse oximetry screening.
Blood Spot Screening
When a newborn is between 24 and 48 hours old, a health professional will take a few drops of blood from the newborn’s heel. Many people refer to this process as “the heel stick." The drops of blood fill five spots on a filter paper card. After the drops of blood have dried, they are sent to our program at the Minnesota Department of Health to be screened for more than 50 inherited and congenital disorders. Results of blood spot screening are mailed to the birth facility or called to the newborn’s primary health care provider if further testing is necessary.
While a newborn sleeps, a health professional will perform a simple test to check for hearing loss in the range where speech is heard. A small screening device will play soft sounds and measure the newborn’s response. Screening is best performed as soon as possible after 12 hours post-partum and should be complete before the newborn is one month old.
Pulse Oximetry Screening
When a newborn is at least a day old, a health professional will perform a quick and simple test called pulse oximetry. For this screen, sensors are placed on the newborn’s hand or foot to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood. This test helps identify newborns who may have critical congenital heart disease (CCHD).
How is Newborn Screening Paid for in Minnesota?
As of July 1, 2015, the fee in Minnesota is $150 for the intial screen and $150 for the repeat if necessary.
Policies and Resources
In Minnesota, newborn screening is mandated by law. All families will receive education about newborn screening and testing will occur unless a parent objects in writing. A parent may object for any reason. The risks of not screening are serious and can include death and permanent health problems. More information and a copy of the refusal form is available to help make the decision that is best for you. A copy of this signed form will be placed in your child's medical record and another will be sent to the Newborn Screening Program.
Support for families:
One of the concerns families face when they learn their child has a condition detected by newborn screening is the increased health care cost. Fortunately, Minnesota has various laws and programs which attempt to lessen the financial burden on families.
If your family has private health insurance and your child has Phenylketonuria (PKU), all accident and health insurance policies in Minnesota, including HMOs, are required to provide coverage for the special medical formula that is prescribed by a physician to treat those with PKU.
For those on state medical programs or assistance, the programs will provide coverage for the nutritional products necessary for those with certain metabolic conditions, including PKU, MSUD, or any other childhood or adult disease which requires a necessary medical product for nutritional purposes. The Minnesota Department of Human Services administers Minnesota’s Medical Assistance (MA), but county human services departments do eligibility screening and case management. Children (up to age 21), parents, pregnant women, people leaving the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), and people who are elderly, blind or disabled can all get Medical Assistance. Effective March 1, 2011 adults without children living in their household can get MA. To get MA you must meet eligibility criteria and income requirements. You have to live in Minnesota. You must be a U.S. citizen or a legal immigrant (with an acceptable immigration status). Most people also have to have income and assets below set amounts to get MA. Explore the Guide to Minnesota's Public Health Care Programs page for information on Medical Assistance website and other state health care programs that provide coverage for many health care related costs.
Storage and Use of Dried Blood Spots:
During the 2014 legislative session, the Minnesota legislature made changes to Minnesota’s newborn screening law. As a result, retention practices regarding blood spots and blood spot test results are determined by when the blood spots were collected.
Blood spots collected on or after August 1, 2014 and their test results:
As of August 1, 2014, the Newborn Screening Program may store blood spots collected on or after August 1, 2014 and their test results indefinitely and may use them for program operations as defined by Minnesota Statute 144.125. Blood spots collected on or after August 1, 2014 and their test results are automatically retained by the program unless a parent or guardian directs MDH to destroy them.
Blood spots collected before August 1, 2014 and their test results:
Newborn screening blood spots collected before August 1, 2014 and their test results are destroyed according to the following timelines, unless a parent or guardian gives written consent for their extended storage and use:
- MDH destroys blood spots with negative test results within 78 days of the date MDH receives the newborn screening card.
- MDH destroys blood spots with positive test results within 24 months and one week of the date MDH receives the newborn screening card.
- MDH destroys all test results within 25 months of the last date they are reported.
It is not necessary for parents to direct the Newborn Screening Program to destroy blood spots collected before August 1, 2014 and their test results. Their destruction is required by Minnesota law and happens as part of routine practice.
(Retention practices for hearing screening results were not changed during the 2014 legislative session. Unless parents direct MDH to discontinue storing results, they are stored for a period not to exceed 18 years from an infant’s date of birth.)
For more information about parental options regarding the retention and/or destruction of test results and blood spots, please refer to the Parental Options page.