The Alabama Newborn Screening Program ensures that state laws, rules, and regulations mandating newborn screening are carried out. The program establishes protocol to ensure early identification and follow-up of infants affected with certain genetic or metabolic conditions. Early diagnosis reduces morbidity, premature death, mental retardation, and other developmental disabilities. The program works in partnership with pediatric specialists throughout the state to ensure all babies identified with abnormal results receive appropriate follow-up.
The program also seeks to expand relationships with other health professionals in the state, including hospitals and pediatricians, to enhance existing services and assure objectives are met. Additionally, there are seven Community-Based Sickle Cell Organizations that provide counseling and follow up for children identified with sickle cell disease or sickle cell trait, as well as one certified Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Care Center in Birmingham that provides CF care.
The Alabama Newborn Screening Hearing Program collaborates with the National Center for Hearing Assessment and Management (NCHAM) to ensure that all infants with hearing loss are identified as early as possible and provided with timely and appropriate audiological, educational, and medical intervention. In addition, the program collaborates with the Alabama Early Intervention System (AEIS) to ensure all infants with hearing loss are identified by three months of age and enrolled in AEIS before six months of age.
The Alabama Bureau of Clinical Laboratories (BCL) is the sole provider for blood analysis of newborn screening in Alabama. The BCL screens approximately 60,000 babies each year, and approximately 150,000 specimens are sent to the lab each year for testing. The BCL also provides filter paper for screening to medical providers.
The Alabama Newborn Screening Program has an active advisory board which consists of professionals and citizens knowledgeable in the area of newborn screening. The Alabama Newborn Screening Advisory Committee provides advice to the Alabama Department of Public Health on issues relative to newborn screening.