What Conditions are Screened For in Arkansas?
Amino Acid Disorders
Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders
Carnitine Uptake Defect (CUD)
Organic Acid Conditions
About Newborn Screening in Arkansas
Birthing providers collect a small sample of blood from the baby (usually by doing a "heel prick") and put the drops of blood on a special filter paper. The paper is then dried and sent to the state laboratory for testing. Babies are tested to identify serious or life-threatening conditions, as many are not noticeable to you or your physician because the outward symptoms have not yet begun. Such conditions are usually rare and catching them early can drastically improve your child’s health and quality of life since treatment can begin before the condition causes your child harm. Arkansas Newborn Screening Laboratory currently tests for 31 conditions and the State Board of Health may add more if reliable and efficient testing techniques for more conditions become available.
If the newborn screening test suggests a problem, your baby's doctor will follow up with your family and will likely recommend further testing. It is very important to follow the physician’s instructions immediately. If the second test confirms a condition, the doctor may refer you to a specialist for treatment. Following your doctor's treatment plan can save your baby from lifelong health and developmental problems.
How is Newborn Screening Paid for in Arkansas?
Newborns covered by private insurance will have their $131 newborn screening fee paid for by insurance as mandated by Arkansas law. If the child is not insured under a private plan, Medicaid will reimburse the hospital for the test and the reimbursed fee will be in addition to the hospital’s per diem payments, if applicable.
Policies and Resources
Opting Out of Testing:
While it is discouraged, parents of children born in Arkansas are allowed to decline testing of their newborn if they have conflicting medical, religious or philosophical beliefs.
Support for families:
Cost may be a concern for a family who just found out their child has a condition detected by newborn screening. Fortunately, Arkansas has various laws and programs that can help lessen the financial burden.
Arkansas has a tax credit of up to $2,400 per year per child for individuals or families with a dependent child or children with PKU (phenylketonuria), GALT (galactosemia), organic acidemias, and disorders of amino acid metabolism that can be used to cover expenses from the purchase of medically necessary medical foods and low protein modified food products. If the cost of medically necessary foods exceeds the tax credit of $2,400 a year, Arkansas requires your insurance to cover the costs of modified food products for children with PKU (phenylketonuria), GALT (galactosemia), organic acidemias, and disorders of amino acid metabolism. The insurer is allowed to require a deductible or similar co-payment for the foods, just like they may do for prescriptions.
There are also various services and programs available for specific conditions. Contact the Arkansas Department of Health, located at 4815 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas 72205 and available by phone at 1-501-661-2000 or toll-free at 1-800-462-0599, for more information and support.
Blood Sample Storage:
In Arkansas, blood samples used for newborn screening are retained by the Department of Health for at least one year and then they are destroyed. Blood samples are not released to any outside group or individual for any purpose unless the express written consent of the child’s parent or guardian is received.