financing, NBS, public health



  1. Therrell, Bradford L. PhD
  2. Williams, Donna BS
  3. Johnson, Kay MPH
  4. Lloyd-Puryear, Michele A. MD, PhD
  5. Mann, Marie Y. MD, MPH
  6. Ramos, Lauren Raskin MPH


Newborn screening (NBS) programs are population-based public health programs andare uniquely financed footline compared with many other public health programs. Since they began more than 45 years ago, the financing issues have become more complex for NBS programs. Today, almost all programs have a portion of their costs paid by fees. The fee amounts vary from program to program, with little standardization in the way they are formulated, collected, or used. We previously surveyed 37 of the 51 dried blood spot screening programs throughout the United States, and confirmed an increasing dependence on NBS fees. In this study, we have collected responses from all 51 programs (100%), including updated responses from the original 37, and updated our fee listings. Comments from those surveyed indicated that the lack of a national standardized procedural coding system for NBS contributes to billing complexities. We suggest one coding possibility for discussion and debate for such a system. Differences in Medicaid interpretations may also contribute to financing inequities across NBS programs and there may be benefit from certain clarifications at the national level. Completed survey responses accounted for few changes in the conclusions of our original survey. We confirmed that 90 percent of all NBS programs have a fee paid by parents or a third party payer. Sixty-one percent reported receiving some funds from the Maternal and Child Health Services Title V block grant, 33 percent reported some funding from state general revenue/general public health appropriations; and 24 percent reported obtaining direct reimbursement from Medicaid (without passing through a third party). A majority of programs (63%) reported budget increases between 2002 and 2005, with increases primarily from fees (72%) and to a lesser extent from Medicaid, the Title V block grant, and state general revenues.