Physical Health

Strategies for Meeting the Lead Screening Requirement in Head Start

Meeting the lead screening requirements can sometimes be a challenge. The steps below outline strategies to assist programs in meeting the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) lead screening requirements. Organize outreach to community providers or identify alternative providers of blood level lead screening services.

Local Primary Care Providers

Doctor with child holding stethoscopeWork in partnership with your local primary care providers to obtain blood lead tests for all Head Start-enrolled children. Clarify that Head Start references the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) requirements for Medicaid-eligible children as a standard of well-child care and is applied to all children enrolled in Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Head Start follows the lead screening requirement under the EPSDT program of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which states: "CMS requires that all children receive a screening blood lead test at 12 months and 24 months of age. Children between the ages of 36 months and 72 months of age must receive a screening blood lead test if they have not been previously screened for lead poisoning." EPSDT Benefits

Health Services Advisory Committee

Women sitting in meetingWork with your Health Services Advisory Committee (HSAC) to organize outreach to community primary care providers and to identify alternate providers of blood lead screening services, such as local health departments and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) office.

Your Health Services Advisory Committee (HSAC) members and/or other administrative-level Head Start staff may help to foster relationships with community providers by promoting Head Start’s mission and the need for EPSDT screening.

Head Start State Collaboration Office

Initiate contact with your Head Start State Collaboration Office and develop a relationship with your state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to identify and conduct outreach to pediatric primary care providers, other health professionals, and community resources to perform lead screening.

Federal Agencies

U.S. Capitol with American flag in foregroundRefer to federal government agencies that provide resources on lead screening involved in blood-lead testing. Agencies may include:

Explanation on Your Program Information Report

Include in the comment section of the Program Information Report (PIR) the reasons why 100% of children were not screened for lead during the program year.

Purchase Lead Screening Equipment

Subject to all appropriate law and regulation, and as a last resort, programs may purchase equipment to conduct screenings onsite. Ensure that a qualified person is able to interpret the results and has a copy of each child’s medical records with results from previous lead tests. Send the results to the child’s primary care provider for inclusion in his/her medical record and for the formulation of a clinical plan of care based upon the review of the blood lead test results.

Last Updated: October 25, 2019