The Division of Human Genetics answers the following frequently asked questions:
Should I bring medical records with me to my appointment?
Yes, bring pertinent medical records with you. You may also fax your records to 513-636-7297 so the healthcare providers seeing you can review your records before your arrival. If you fax records, write the patient’s name and date of appointment clearly on the cover sheet.
What happens during a clinical genetics consultation?
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.
What should I bring to my clinical genetics consultation?
You should bring relevant medical records (especially copies of genetic test results) with you to your appointment. During your appointment we will ask you questions about your family’s health history, so you may want to talk to your family before the visit to find out more information.
Is it OK to bring family members to my clinical genetics consultation?
You may bring family members as needed. Please know that our exam rooms are generally not large enough to accommodate more than three or four people, so bring only those people who are necessary. However, we will be able to see only the patient who is scheduled. If you would like to have more than one person seen by our geneticist, mention this when you make your appointment so we can block as much time as needed.
My child is scheduled to see the genetics doctor. Is it OK if I come to the appointment without her so that I can focus my attention on the medical information?
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.
Will my insurance pay for genetics laboratory tests or the clinical genetics consultation?
Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that insurance will pay for genetic services. We encourage our patients to contact their insurance company to find out more information. In many cases, the genetics team can help you to work with your insurance company once it is determined which tests are appropriate. You may meet with a financial counselor in private to review the options available to you. Cincinnati Children’s will not deny services to any patient for financial reasons.
What is a genetic counselor?
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.
Can information about my genetic condition or a condition that runs in my family be used to discriminate against me?
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.
How can I be sure that my privacy will be protected?
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.