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Patient Care

Frequently Asked Questions


Why is someone referred to the Medical Genetics and GenomicsProgram?

You may have been diagnosed with a condition that is suspected of being hereditary or you may have noticed that a particular condition runs in your family and you may be worried about your own risk or your children's risk for that condition. The Medical Genetics Program provides risk assessment and genetic counseling for many different conditions that can run in families. Your visit will help you understand:

  • The level of risk to you and your family members
  • The medical implications of the condition that runs in your family
  • Genetic testing and its benefits and limitations
  • Options for prevention, screening and/or treatment for the condition that runs in your family

What will happen at my visit?

Our program utilizes a team approach. During your visit, you will meet with both a genetic counselor and a doctor who specializes in genetics. We will discuss your medical history as well as construct a detailed family history, asking questions about your children, siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other extended relatives. Depending on what condition runs in your family, the physician may perform a physical exam as part of the risk assessment. We will help you understand the role heredity (genetics) plays for the condition that runs in your family as well as the chance that you and other family members could develop the condition. We will also explain whether genetic testing is available and appropriate for you and/or family members. Most genetic testing is done by having your blood drawn. This can be done the day of your appointment if you wish. The initial appointment usually lasts about 1-2 hours. If you have genetic testing, you will usually also have a follow-up appointment to discuss your test results. You and your family will learn ways to reduce your risk of getting the condition, to detect the condition early, or treat the condition if you develop it. We also will offer you and your family psychosocial support and education.

Who should be referred to the Medical Genetics Program?

  • A person who wants to know more about the role of heredity for a condition that has affected themselves or family member(s)
  • A person who has been diagnosed with a condition at an unusually young age
  • A person who has been diagnosed with a condition when there are no obvious risk factors
  • A person with both parents affected by the same condition
  • A person with 2 or more close relatives on the same side of the family with the same condition
  • A person with at least 1 close relative diagnosed with a condition at an unusually young age
  • A person who is concerned about their risk based on their family history

What about genetic testing?

Genetic testing is possible for some families. This will be discussed during your appointment. We will assist you and your family in deciding if testing is right for you. Usually genetic testing involves having a blood sample drawn and should begin with a family member who has the condition in question. We will discuss any concerns you may have about genetic testing, such as the cost and insurance coverage, as well as the possible benefits of genetic testing for you and your family. If you wish, we will work with your insurance company to determine your coverage for genetic testing. We can also assist you in enrolling in research studies, if there is not yet a genetic test available for the condition in your family.

Will my insurance cover my visit?

We participate with most health insurance companies. Our services are often covered like any other specialist's services. However, every insurance plan is different. Some insurance plans require a referral from your doctor in order to get coverage for our services.

The Medical Genetics Program will work closely with your physicians, providing them with detailed summaries of our risk assessment and recommendations for risk reduction and disease prevention based on your family history and genetic test results. To schedule an appointment or to get more information, you can call our office at 614-293-6694 or toll free at 888-329-1654 or request an appointment online.