Children and adults age 20 and younger who have disabilities and are covered by Texas Medicaid now receive services through STAR Kids.

STAR Kids provides benefits such as primary and specialty care, preventive care, hospital care, prescription drugs, personal care, and durable medical equipment and supplies. A key feature of the plan is care coordination provided through the patient’s health plan.

Texas Health Steps providers can be reimbursed for using Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) during Texas Health Steps checkups for patients 10 through 20 years of age. SBIRT is an evidenced-based three-part strategy to reduce adolescent substance use.

The American Academy of Pediatrics and U.S Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommend universal screening for substance use as part of routine adolescent care.

The new Texas Long-acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) Toolkit is aimed at helping providers increase the availability of LARCs to all Texas women.

LARC is a highly effective contraceptive option with high rates of patient satisfaction and method continuation. Texas has made improving access to LARCs a priority.

Pediatricians and other health-care providers should bolster efforts to prevent antibiotic-resistant infections, according to a Health Alert Network advisory issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The advisory was issued after bacteria resistant to a “last resort” antibiotic was found in a Pennsylvania woman.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Lab encourages Texas Health Steps providers to submit venous specimens whenever possible for hemoglobin and lead testing. Finger stick capillary specimens are more likely to clot and may not be suitable for testing. The lab continues to accept capillary specimens for Texas Health Steps anemia and lead screenings and will test those that are not clotted.

Questions and comments should be sent to DSHS Specimen Logistics by e-mail at ClinicalChemistry@dshs.state.tx.us.

Pediatricians should learn to recognize risk factors for Zika infection, monitor and test suspected cases in conjunction with local and state health authorities, and report confirmed cases, according to directives recently issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Effective February 1, 2016, Texas Health Steps (THSteps) preventive care medical checkups diagnosis codes changed. Diagnosis codes Z00110 which covers newborns birth through 7 days of age, and Z00111 which covers newborns eight through 28 days of age, became benefits for THSteps preventive care medical checkups. More information on THSteps checkups and preventive medical checkup diagnosis codes is available on the THSteps website.

Immunity provided by the tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine wanes in adolescents, according to a study recently published in Pediatrics.

Don’t Delay Medicaid Re-enrollment Application: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced that the March 24, 2016, deadline for Medicaid provider re-enrollment has been extended to September 25, 2016, to aid compliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The Texas Health Steps (THSteps) Child Health Clinical Record Forms have been updated to reflect November 1, 2015 policy changes.   Instructions for completing the forms have also been updated.  THSteps Child Health Clinical Record forms are intended for use by providers as a documentation tool for all required checkup components.  The forms are recommended for use but not required.  More information on THSteps checkups and Child Health Clinical Record Forms is available on the

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