You may be referred to a genetic counselor by a doctor (such as an primary care provider, obstetrician, or oncologist) to discuss your family history and genetic risks, before or after having genetic testing. A genetic counselor is a healthcare professional with an advanced degree in genetics as well as experience in counseling and education. In the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, genetic counselors must be Licensed and Board Certified to practice. To learn more about genetic counselors, click here.
Risk Assessment: The genetic counselor will take a complete family history and medical history. During the risk assessment the patient will learn more about genetic causes of conditions.
Education: Includes learning about the genetics of hereditary conditions, genetic testing options, and other screening, management and treatment options.
Testing: If indicated, genetic testing is offered after a discussion of the benefits, risks, and limitations of testing. Deciding whether or not to have genetic testing is a personal choice. The genetic test may include either a blood draw or collection of saliva (buccal sample).
Results: Individuals receive their test result from the genetic counselor. A discussion follows regarding how the result affects screenings, treatments, and medical management, as well as recommendations for other relatives.
Write down the medical history for you, your family, and extended relatives. If you have limited or no family history information, that is okay! A genetic counseling appointment can still be very useful even without this. Please bring the following information about you and your family to your appointment:
Many insurance companies cover the cost of your genetic counseling appointment. The cost of genetic testing depends on the test ordered and the lab that is performing the test. Your genetic counselor will discuss the cost of testing with you during your appointment and financial assistance options. Most testing labs also offer a self-pay option for those who do not have insurance or do not meet their insurance plan’s coverage criteria. In most cases, you do not need to call your insurance carrier before the genetic testing appointment.
*Please note that there may be two costs associated with your visit: the cost of the genetic counseling appointment and the cost of genetic testing.*
Some people are concerned that their genetic information may be used against them or will label them as having a “pre-existing condition”. The Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act (GINA, 2008) is a federal law stating that health insurance companies and employers cannot discriminate against you based on genetic testing results. If you work for a company with less than 15 employees or are employed by the US military or the federal government, these protective laws may not apply to you. GINA does not cover life, long-term care, or disability insurance. These companies can ask about genetic information and use it to make pricing/coverage decisions. To learn about laws protecting individuals from genetic discrimination, click here.
Most tests will return results in 2-4 weeks after sample collection. A genetic counselor will call you to review your results in detail. These phone calls include a discussion of:
Test results are available online through your MyChart account and you can request a paper copy of your results. Your doctors at TriHealth will also have access to your test results.