BACKGROUND. Financing for newborn screening is different from virtually all other public health programs. All except 5 screening programs collect fees as the primary source of program funding. A fee-based approach to financing newborn screening has been adopted by most states, to ensure consistent funding for this critical public health activity.
METHODS. Two types of data are reported here, ie, primary data from a survey of 37 state public health agencies and findings from exploratory case studies from 7 states.
RESULTS. Most of the programs that participated in this survey (73%) reported that their newborn screening funding increased between 2002 and 2005, typically through increased fees and to a lesser extent through Medicaid, Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, and state general revenue funding. All of the responding states that collect fees (n = 31) use such funds to support laboratory expenses, and most (70%) finance short-term follow-up services and program management. Nearly one half (47%) finance longer-term follow-up services, case management, or family support beyond diagnosis. Other states (43%) finance genetic or nutritional counseling and formula foods or treatment.
CONCLUSIONS. Regardless of the source of funds, the available evidence indicates that states are committed to maintaining their programs and securing the necessary financing for the initial screening through diagnosis. Use of federal funding is currently limited; however, pressure to provide dedicated federal funding would likely increase if national recommendations for a uniform newborn screening panel were issued.