Clinical Services - Frequently Asked Questions

  • A physician (MD, DO) who has complete Clinical Genetics Residency (ACGME) and is board certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMGG). 
  • Specialize in medicine that involves the interaction between genes and health
  • Trained to evaluate, diagnose, manage, treat and counsel individuals of all ages with hereditary disorders
  • Plans and coordinates screening for genetic diseases involving single gene and chromosomal disorders, congenital anomalies, inborn errors of metabolism, multifactorial conditions, and common disorders with hereditary factors.

  • Masters degree in genetic counseling
  • Help a person or family understand their risk for genetic conditions, educate the person or family about that disease, and assess the risk of passing those diseases on to children.
  • Work with families to identify members who are at risk. If appropriate, they will discuss genetic testing, coordinate any testing, interpret test results, and review all additional testing, surveillance, surgical, or research options that are available to members of the family. 
  • Work as part of a health care team in conjunction with specially trained doctors, social workers, nurses, medical geneticists, or other specialists to help families make informed decisions about their health.
  • Work as patient advocates, helping individuals receive additional support and services for their health care needs.

  • In-depth discussion with Geneticist and Genetic Counselor
  • Review of personal medical history
  • Detailed family history (mailed questionnaire)
  • Limited physical exam
  • Review of the condition and inheritance pattern
  • Personalized risk assessment/management recommendations
  • Outline of genetic testing options available–Implications for medical management and family members
  • Coordination for Genetic testing

  • Genetic testing is a type of medical test that identifies changes in chromosomes, genes, or proteins. The results of a genetic test can confirm or rule out a suspected genetic condition or help determine a person's chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder. More than 1,000 genetic tests are currently in use, and more are being developed.
  • Because testing has benefits as well as limitations and risks, the decision about whether to be tested is a personal and complex one. A geneticist or genetic counselor can help by providing information about the pros and cons of the test and discussing the social and emotional aspects of testing.
  • Genetic testing is ordered by a physician, and performed at a Molecular Genetics Lab

  • Prior to your appointment our staff will contact your insurance company to review your current eligibility and benefits. Some services require authorizations and referrals before you receive healthcare services. Be sure that you confirm what is required by your insurance company prior to receiving any services. You could be responsible for all charges if proper authorization or referrals are not obtained.   
  • Visit the OHSU Billing and Insurance page for more information.

Typically billing and authorization for genetic testing are managed by the laboratory completing the testing. In many cases, health insurance will cover the costs of genetic testing. However, insurance companies have different policies about which tests are covered. Some insurers have specific requirements about what reasons for testing, or indications, qualify for coverage. During your consultation if genetic testing is recommended, the genetics team will review your options.  Our Genetic Counselors will assist with coordinating with the laboratory that performs the testing. Prices for testing can vary depending on the type of test ordered, individual laboratory pricing and individual insurance coverage. Individual laboratories may have financial assistance options available for uninsured or underinsured individuals.

It is important that our providers have medical records related to the condition you are being evaluated for prior to your consultation. This could include Primary Care visit notes, Specialist visit notes or diagnostic reports (such as lab or radiology results).  If you or your family members have had any genetic consultations or testing in the past it will be very important that we have those records as well. 

A detailed family history can help providers understand the link between your family's health and yours, including your risk of developing inheritable conditions. With this information your genetics team can identify more specific genetic testing options and more accurately make recommendations for your future preventative care and screening. If your family members have ever had a genetics consultation or genetic testing, it would be very important to have that information available during your consultation.   

There are a lot of important factors that go into consideration for genetic testing. Geneticists and Genetic Counselors are specially trained healthcare providers that can help a patient identify their risks for certain disorders, investigate family health history,interpret information and determine if testing is needed. With the rapid advancement in Molecular and Medical Genetics sciences a certified genetics professional can help patients make informed decisions about the latest genetic testing options. Genetic counselors also provide supportive counseling services, serve as patient advocates, and refer individuals and families to other health professionals and community or state support services. They can also help patients with effective and appropriate ways to communicate genetic information to family members that maybe impacted.