Jan 022014

By Julie Wiessner
By law, all children born in Arizona hospitals must have their blood screened to determine if there are any problems with their health. These tests can be critical for children who look and act healthy, but are born with health issues that require immediate treatment.
Statistics provided by the Arizona Department of Health Services show that not all Arizona hospitals have been in compliance with the mandatory time frame of 24 to 36 hours after birth in which to send those samples to labs for testing, with Little Colorado Medical Center (LCMC) in Winslow having the highest rate of non-compliance.
To offset any costs that may inhibit sending off the specimens, the state offers a free daily courier service for hospitals, which began in 1994, originally through United Parcel Service (UPS), but now through Federal Express (FedEx), with the intent of increasing timely submission of newborn screenings.
ADHS has indicated that of the 183 births that occurred at LCMC in 2012, 162 of the specimens taken, or 88 percent, were sent in after 36 hours. Going back to 2008, the record remains consistent each year with an average of 89 percent of all newborn blood specimens sent in after the required time frame.
Calls for comment from LCMC Chief Executive Officer Jeff Hamblen remained unanswered at press time.