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January 11, 1980

Congenital Hypothyroidism Control Programs

JAMA. 1980;243(2):119. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300280017011

To the Editor.—  Biochemical screening appears to have become a "medical way of life" in recent decades. The benefits of these screening programs are being weighed against the overall cost of the program by physicians, public health personnel, and politicians.The total cost of screening programs is often difficult to evaluate. The actual analytical cost may represent only a small part. All costs should be listed. These costs include those associated with the physician's order (especially if an infant is ill, premature, or not receiving an adequate diet), transcription by the nurse, etc, notification of the laboratory, obtaining the specimen by the phlebotomists (often requiring the help of others), preparation of a laboratory log, packaging and mailing of the specimen (if required), receipt of the results, and later notification of the physician, medical records, and state health laboratory.The cost of reagents, quality control, external proficiency testing, duplicates and repeated