In this Section:
What conditions are screened for in Tennessee?
Amino Acid Disorders
Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders
Organic Acid Conditions
About Newborn Screening in Tennessee
Tennessee has a comprehensive genetics program that provides access to genetic screening, diagnostic testing, and counseling services for individuals and families who have, or are at risk for, genetic conditions. These comprehensive screening programs provide a public health service for the citizens of Tennessee.
Newborn screening allows for early diagnosis of metabolic conditions, followed by appropriate medical treatment. All babies born in Tennessee are screened for certain genetic conditions. If any of the tests are abnormal, which mean they are indicating a possible disorder, the Department of Health follows up with the baby’s doctor to initiate retesting, confirmation and treatment from a specialist if necessary.
Early diagnosis and treatment can make the difference between a child leading a relatively normal life or having more significant developmental delays, long-term health care needs, or even death.
How is Newborn Screening Paid for in Tennessee?
The newborn screening cost is $75.00 per child payable to the Department of Health. The fee is waived for patients who are unable to pay based on information at the time of admission to the healthcare facility.
Policies and Resources
All newborns must participate in newborn screening unless a parent or guardian objects on religious grounds. Parents who decline must sign a written refusal statement.
Support for families:
One of the concerns some families may have when they find out their child has a condition detected through the newborn screening program is the increase in health care cost. Fortunately, Tennessee has laws and programs which have been put in place to make treatment of these conditions more affordable for families who are looking to provide the best care to their loved ones.
If your child has private insurance, all health insurance policies, medical service plans, hospital and medical service corporation contracts, fraternal benefit societies and HMOs are required to cover treatment for your loved one. Treatment includes coverage for licensed medical services and those special dietary formulas which are medically necessary for the treatment of PKU.
If the TennCare program covers your child’s health care needs, they will cover medically necessary services for children under 21 years of age.
Additionally, Children's Special Services (CSS) provides services to eligible children with special health care needs. CSS has two components: medical services and care coordination.
The first component provides medical services and reimbursement for medical care (surgery, physician/clinic visits), medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and therapies for children to age 21 years who meet medical and financial criteria.
The second component is care coordination. CSS coordinates primary and specialty care through the designated primary care physician and corresponding managed care organization network. Care coordinators assist the family in accessing many services (educational, medical, social, transportation, support, and advocacy).
For more information about your child’s eligibility for CSS, please contact Maternal and Child Health. Offices are located in the Cordell Hull Bldg., 4th floor at 425 5th Ave. N. Nashville, TN 37243.You may also call the program at (615) 741-7353.
Storage and Use of Dried Blood Spots:
After your child’s blood has been screened for all newborn screening conditions, some blood will remain in the sample card. This is called a “residual dried blood spot”. In Tennessee, the residual dried blood spot will be retained by the state for 12 months if the sample was negative, while confirmed tests are held indefinitely.