For Health Professionals
What Conditions are Screened For in Alabama?
Amino Acid Disorders
Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders
- State preferred name: Various other hemoglobinopathies
Organic Acid Conditions
About Newborn Screening in Alabama
The newborn screening program establishes protocol to ensure early identification and follow-up of infants affected with certain genetic or metabolic conditions. Most tests use a few drops of blood from pricking the baby's heel. These drops are absorbed on a screening card that is taken to a laboratory for testing. Early diagnosis may reduce morbidity, premature death, intellectual disability, and other developmental disabilities because treatment can begin before the condition can cause health problems. The program works in partnership with pediatric specialists throughout the state to ensure all babies identified with abnormal results receive appropriate follow-up to help manage their condition.
How is Newborn Screening Paid for in Alabama?
The cost of newborn screening in Alabama is $150 per child.
Policies and Resources
All newborns must participate in newborn screening unless the parents object on religious grounds.
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, Alabama has many 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 for their loved ones.
The Board of Health creates regulations to provide for treatment, including advising dietary treatment and other helpful services. The state does provide funding for special formula, however law does not require it. In order to receive funding for metabolic formula from the state, patients must enroll through the metabolic clinic or be an adult Alabama resident who is not eligible for WIC. In general, the state does provide funding for modified low-protein foods, however there is no state legislation requiring states to provide this coverage. Certain specialty food items may be excluded and a patient must first be Medicaid eligible, however exceptions can be made. Also, each patient’s finances as well as diet compliance are taken into account.
In addition to state support for a child’s medically-necessary foods, Alabama has a program in place to help families navigate the additional services available to them. Children With Special Health Needs is federally funded through the Maternal Child Health Bureau within the Health Resources and Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services. In Alabama, it is part of the Children's Rehabilitation Service and they collaborate with the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the March of Dimes, and Family Voices to work together to make sure families of children with special health care needs can work with them to make informed decisions about their child’s health care needs. All children with special health care needs will receive coordinated, ongoing, comprehensive care within a medical home. Also, the program strives to guarantee all families of children with special health care needs will have adequate private and public insurance to pay for the services they need. As a child grows up, the program will work with the family to make sure all youth with special health care needs will receive the services necessary to make transitions to all aspects of adult life, including adult health care, work, and independence. For more information about how Children’s Rehabilitation Services can help your family, contact the State Department of Rehabilitation Services, located at 602 South Lawrence Street Montgomery, AL 36104 and they are reachable via phone at (334) 293-7500 and email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Storage and Use of Dried Blood Spots:
After your child has had newborn screening and the sample has been sent to the laboratory, there will be a small amount of dried blood left on the filter paper, called the dried blood spot. The blood spot retention rate in Alabama is 3 months. Laboratories within the Southeastern region (Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee) may exchange blood spot samples from different states. The Sample Exchange is a peer-to-peer, de-identified sample sharing program aimed at improving regional knowledge about Tandem Mass Spectrometry (MS/MS) screened conditions and local data harmonization within the region, and evaluating the degree of analytical correlation between laboratories. Any samples shared with others will not have any personal or identifying information on them.