Expansion of Genetic Services Utilizing a General Genetic Counseling Clinic
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We established a general genetic counseling clinic (GCC) to help reduce long wait times for new patient appointments and to enhance services for a subset of patients. Genetic counselors, who are licensed in Tennessee, were the primary providers and MD geneticists served as medical advisors. This article describes the clinic referral sources, reasons for referral and patient dispositions following their GCC visit(s). We obtained patients by triaging referrals made to our medical genetics division. Over 24 months, our GCC provided timely visits for 321 patients, allowing the MD geneticists to focus on patients needing a clinical exam and/or complex medical management. Following their GCC visit(s), over 80 % of patients did not need additional appointments with an MD geneticist. The GCC allowed the genetic counselor to spend more time with patients than is possible in our traditional medical genetics clinic. Patient satisfaction surveys (n = 30) were very positive overall concerning the care provided. Added benefits for the genetic counselors were increased professional responsibility, autonomy and visibility as health care providers. We conclude that genetic counselors are accepted as health care providers by patients and referring providers for a subset of clinical genetics cases. A GCC can expand genetic services, complement more traditional genetic clinic models and utilize the strengths of the genetic counselor health care provider.
KeywordsGenetic counseling Service delivery model Autonomous counseling Genetic counselor as provider Genetic service expansion
This work was supported in part by State of Tennessee grant GR-08-21558-00.
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