Under the authority granted the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health under 16 Del.C. §122(1), 16 Del.C. §122(3)(h), and 29 Del.C. §7904 the Department adopts the following regulations pertaining to the screening of newborns for various disorders.
The purpose of these regulations is to describe the procedures for the Newborn Screening Program where each newborn delivered in the state must be provided a panel of screening tests to identify certain metabolic, hematologic, endocrinologic, and certain structural disorders that may result in developmental delay, cognitive disabilities, serious medical conditions, or death.
The responsibility for implementation of the regulations rests with the institution in which the infant is born. If an infant is born outside a facility, the responsibility for implementation of the regulations rests with the attending delivering physician or midwife, the newborn’s primary health care provider and the parent or legal guardian.
“Blood Specimen for Metabolic, Hematologic and Endocrinologic Disorders” means a dried blood spot on a special filter paper utilized for screening (not diagnostic) tests to establish the likely presence of metabolic, hematologic or endocrinologic disorders.
“Designated Laboratory” is the laboratory or laboratories, which have been selected by the Division of Public Health to perform these services.
“Endocrinologic Disorder” means the absence or deficiency of a hormone resulting in interference with normal health, growth or development. These disorders include Congenital Hypothyroidism (CH) and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH).
“Hematologic Disorder” means, in these regulations, a condition in which a variation in one or more of the hemoglobin structural genes or in one or more of the genes involved in hemoglobin synthesis produces a variation in hemoglobin structure or synthesis, which results in variation in hemoglobin function. The term “hemoglobinopathies” includes sickle cell anemia, sickle cell hemoglobin C disease (SC disease), sickle beta thalassemia, beta thalassemia, alpha thalassemia, hemoglobin C disease and other clinically important variations in hemoglobin structure or synthesis.
“Kit” means any or all parts of the combined materials, laboratory filter paper specimen forms, Newborn Screening Program brochure, and/or other components provided by the State Newborn Screening Program for the purposes of collection of the blood spot specimen and for submission of the blood spot specimen for laboratory screening.
“Metabolic Disorder” means a disorder caused by a genetic alteration, which results in a defect in the structure or function of a specific enzyme or other protein. These disorders include, but are not limited to, Phenylketonuria (PKU), Galactosemia, Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD), and Medium Chain Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase (MCAD) Deficiency.
“Newborn Infant” means any infant born in the state who is under 4 weeks of age.
“Satisfactory Specimen” means a blood spot specimen on which an accurate laboratory analysis for the various disorders can be performed.
“The Newborn Screening Advisory Committee” means a committee, established through the Division of Public Health Newborn Screening Program, convened to provide advice and guidance to the Program. Members include, but are not limited to: individuals or parents of individuals with one of the disorders for which screening is performed; physicians not employed by the Division of Public Health who have expertise in the disorders for which screening is performed; an attorney not employed by the Division of Public Health; an ethicist not employed by the Division of Public Health; representatives of relevant agencies within the Department of Health and Social Services. The Committee will meets at least semi-annually. The Director of the Division of Public Health will appoint members after recommendation by the Newborn Screening Program.
“Unsatisfactory Specimen” means a blood spot specimen which is of insufficient quantity; or a blood spot specimen on which an accurate analysis for the various disorders cannot be performed.
4.1 The person or facility responsible for assuring that a satisfactory blood spot specimen and pulse oximetry results are submitted for screening newborns for metabolic, hematologic, endocrinologic and certain structural disorders shall be, in order of responsibility:
4.2 In cases of newborns entering a health care facility before 48 hours of age as result of transfer from another facility or of an infant not born in a hospital or other licensed health care facility, the receiving facility shall be responsible for the timely collection of the blood spot specimen and pulse oximetry screening results.
4.3 In cases of newborns not born in a hospital or other licensed health care facility, and not transferred to a health care facility, the timely collection of the blood spot specimen and pulse oximetry screening results shall be the responsibility of the following, in order of responsibility:
4.3.3 the parent or legal guardian.
5.2 Blood spot specimens collected for screening shall be forwarded from the collecting facility to the designated laboratory within 24 hours of collection, either by the designated Division of Public Health courier or by mail.
5.3 Pulse oximetry screening results shall be forwarded to the Division of Public Health electronically by the 15th of each month for births occurring in the previous calendar month.
6.1.1 For infants born inside or outside of a hospital or other health care facility, or infants born outside of a hospital or other health care facility and transferred to the hospital where they will remain for the next 24 hours, a specimen shall be collected 24 hours after the onset of milk feeding, but no later than three days after birth, preferably between 36 and 72 hours of birth. A second specimen is to be collected between seven and 28 days of age.
6.1.2 For pre-term or sick newborns, the initial blood spot specimen shall be collected between 24 hours and 48 hours after birth, if possible. The second dried blood spot specimen on pre-term or sick newborns must be completed at hospital discharge or transfer if within seven days from birth, or otherwise at 8 – 10 days. A third specimen on pre-term or sick newborns shall be collected between 21-24 days or at discharge, whichever comes first.
6.1.3 When an infant is discharged from a hospital or other health care facility before 24 hours of milk feedings a blood spot specimen shall be obtained immediately prior to discharge from the facility and a second dried blood spot specimen shall be obtained after 3 days of age and before 14 days of age.
6.2 Birth facilities or care providers responsible for screening newborns shall adopt protocols consistent with the scientific statement regarding the role of pulse oximetry from the American Heart Association and American Academy of Pediatrics (Pediatrics, Vol. 124, No. 2, August 1, 2009, pp. 823-836).
7.1 The hospital/facility of birth to which a newborn is transferred shall develop adequate procedures to insure a satisfactory blood spot specimen is collected by the time each newborn is three days of age. The sample must be taken from every newborn.
7.2 The hospital/facility of birth to which a newborn is transferred and the primary health care provider of the newborn shall cooperate with the Newborn Screening Program in completing follow up of newborns whose blood spot specimen result is designated as “abnormal” or “suspicious.” This cooperation shall include:
8.3 A copy of the Newborn Screening laboratory report shall be available to the parent or legal guardian upon request made to the birth hospital medical record department or their primary health care provider.
9.1 The Newborn Screening Program shall maintain and treat as confidential all newborn screening communications with facilities, families and health care providers. The Newborn Screening Program shall maintain and treat as confidential a record of every newborn in whom a diagnosis of one or more of the various metabolic, hematologic, or endocrinologic disorders is confirmed.
9.2 Information may be disclosed by the Newborn Screening Program in summary forms, which do not identify individuals. Individuals or institutions requesting summary data must submit a proposal to the Newborn Screening Program and to the Institutional Review Board of the Division of Public Health.
9.3 Dried blood-spots will be retained for a period of three years under appropriate conditions. The stored specimens will only be used for activities to improve the screening program and/or develop new screening tests.
10.1 The Division of Public Health Newborn Screening Program shall bill the facility or individual for services provided for each newborn screened under these regulations including but not limited to, the cost of the kits for collection of specimens, the laboratory fee for analysis, and administrative costs. The fee will be determined annually (in July) based on cost of the program.
10.2 No Delaware newborn shall be denied testing for hereditary disorders because of inability of the newborn's parentor legal guardian to pay the fee. A "Statement of Fee Exemption" form will be provided to the practitioner or parent requesting exemption from fees. This form must be completed and submitted to the Newborn Screening Program Office within 30 days of birth.
11.1 A newborn may be excused from screening if the parent or legal guardian objects to the tests because the screening tests conflict with the religious tenets or practices of the parent or legal guardian.
11.2 In the event a religious exemption is claimed from the requirements for screening, the person otherwise responsible for submitting the specimen for screening shall be responsible for submitting a completed affidavit to the Delaware Newborn Screening Program Office, signed by the infant's parent or legal guardian, using the following language:
Under the Authority granted to the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health under 16 Del.C §107, "whoever refuses, fails or neglects to perform the duties required under this chapter, or violates, neglects or fails to comply with the duly adopted regulations or orders of the Division shall be fined not less than $100 and not more than $1,000, together with costs, unless otherwise provided by law."