Human Genetics
What to Expect

What to Expect at Your First Appointment at the Division of Human Genetics

The Division of Human Genetics provides genetic evaluation, counseling, testing and medical management for patients of all ages at risk of or affected by conditions such as cleft lip and palate, hereditary cancer, metabolic diseases, and many other genetic disorders. Our experienced team will provide you or your child with the best clinical care possible using a precision-medicine approach. This approach allows us to use specific information about each patient to make an accurate diagnosis, develop the best care plan and offer individualized treatments.

Making an Appointment at the Division of Human Genetics

We look forward to partnering with you and your family to answers your questions. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with a geneticist or a genetic counselor, please contact our office directly.

If you are a physician and would like to request an evaluation for a patient, please fax a referral to our office or contact the office directly.

Before Your Appointment

To prepare for your first visit, we recommend creating a list of each family member’s medical history, making note of any genetic conditions or disorders. Also, ask your family members if they have had genetic testing in the past. If a family member has had testing, please bring a copy of the results to the appointment.

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that your insurance will pay for genetic services or testing. We encourage you to contact your insurance company before your first visit to find out more information. In many cases, the genetics team can help you to work with your insurance company once we decide which tests are appropriate. You may meet with a financial counselor in private to review the options available to you.

On the Day of Your Visit to the Division of Human Genetics

Arriving at Your Appointment

Appointments for the Division of Human Genetics are available at the Cincinnati Children's Burnet, Liberty, Mason, Centerville, and College Hill campuses. Please make sure you know in which building your appointment will be held and plan for extra time to find parking.

We recommend arriving at least 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time to allow for registration.

If you are running late, please call to let us know.

At Your Appointment

Please bring all pertinent medical records, genetic test results and family medical history to your first visit. Your first visit will include a doctor or team of doctors, a genetic counselor and/or a nurse practitioner. A medical resident or students also may be present. The team will review the medical history and family history. They also may do a physical examination. Based on their review and exam, the team will discuss testing, management and/or treatment options with you. They will also work with you to develop a plan of care as needed.

If the appointment is for a first visit for your child, your child must accompany you so the doctors can examine them. You may bring other family members, but please know that our exam rooms are generally not large enough to accommodate more than three or four people. Bring only those people who are necessary.

The team will only be able to evaluate the patient who is scheduled. If it is important for more than one family member to be evaluated, please mention this when you make the appointment.

We may ask for written consent for genetic testing. We may ask for permission to take photographs. Referrals to other specialty clinics or services may also be placed.

After Your Visit to the Division of Human Genetics

We will send a summary of the evaluation to the referring physician and/or primary care provider. If genetic testing is planned and prior authorization is needed, we will help to obtain it. The results of genetic testing may be communicated by a genetics provider typically either at an in-person visit, a telehealth visit, by telephone, or via MyChart. We may recommend follow up, such as additional blood tests, imaging studies, referrals and testing of other family members. If we diagnose a genetic condition in the family, we will often provide information and resources for support.

If you need a follow-up appointment, you may be eligible for an eVisit. Ask your provider for more details.

Frequently Asked Questions

A clinical genetics consultation is usually facilitated by a team of medical geneticists (physicians trained in genetics), genetic counselors and sometimes a medical resident or other trainee. The team members will review your medical history and family history. Depending on the reason for your visit, a thorough physical examination may be done. Finally, treatment options or testing options will be discussed with you. You will work with your team to develop a plan of care as needed.
Genetic counselors are trained medical professionals who help patients understand and cope with genetic conditions that affect their lives. Genetic counselors work with families who may be at risk of an inherited disease or are having complications with a pregnancy. They can help you understand more information about the condition, discuss testing and treatment options, review the risks for other family members and help you make decisions that are right for you.
A physical examination can be an important part of the genetic consultation, especially for children. Genetics team members will not be able to give you specific information if they do not have a chance to meet your child. You may consider bringing another adult with you who can play with your child if you need time to speak with your medical providers privately.
In 2008, a federal law was enacted to help prevent discrimination in health coverage or employment on the basis of genetic information. This law is called the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (or GINA). GINA generally prohibits health insurers or health plan administrators from requesting or requiring genetic information about an individual or the individual’s family members, or using it for decisions regarding coverage, rates or pre-existing conditions. The law also prohibits most employers from using genetic information for hiring, firing or promotion decisions, and for any decisions regarding terms of employment. GINA does not extend to life insurance companies or policies. If you have more questions about genetic discrimination, you may discuss them with your genetics provider.
At Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center we believe that your privacy is very important. Your genetics evaluation and testing are part of a confidential medical record. While we do communicate with your referring physician about the results of your evaluation, we will not share information about you or your children with anyone else without your permission.