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Institute of Medical Genetics

Information on Genetic Consultations

Information about the Genetic Consultation

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What is a genetic consultation?

The genetic consultation is a specialized medical consultation in which you can be consulted by specialists in medical genetics regarding genetic diseases.

What can I expect from the genetic consultation?

What can I expect from the genetic consultation?

  • My concerns and questions will be discussed in a detailed manner
  • If a genetic disease is suspected, a diagnosis can be sought
  • If the diagnosis is known, recommendations can be made for treatment and avoidance of complications typical of the disease. A cure for a genetic disease is usually not possible.
  • I receive information about the inheritance of the respective disease and about genetic risks for my offspring.
  • In case of a concrete wish to have children, possibilities of prenatal diagnostics can be discussed
  • If there are hereditary diseases in the family, I can receive information about my own risk of disease.

What happens before the consultation?

During the consultation, the physician will take your medical history and ask you about diseases in the family and your relatives.

If you have information about possible diseases in your family, as well as medical records, please bring them with you.

What happens during the consultation?

The consultation lasts about 1-2 hours, depending on the matter at hand.

In addition to a conversation, it often includes a physical examination and a blood sample.

Photos are also usually taken for internal use in the search for a diagnosis.

During the interview, the following points will be discussed with you: Your concerns, previous course of illness and any illnesses in the family, suspected diagnoses and diagnostic options.

Before any laboratory tests are performed, the question of costs and the expected time schedule will be discussed with you.

Further course

The results of any genetic tests will be discussed with you in detail during a further consultation. You will be asked to attend another consultation. Subsequently, you and your physicians will receive a written final or interim report, if further examinations are still necessary.

In the final or interim report, the consultation and the laboratory results are summarized and explained. Note: By law, we are not allowed to send the laboratory results directly to patients, so you will therefore receive the final or interim report. This is usually sent to your referring physician with a copy to you, as well as the other physicians involved, whom you have indicated.

If you do not want certain information to be mentioned or if you do not want certain physicians to receive a copy, please let us know clearly during the consultation.

Frequently asked questions

Can I eat something before the consultation?

You do not need to come to the consultation without having eaten anything.

Can I come to the consultation even if I am taking medication?

If you are taking medication at the time of the consultation, this will not affect the results of a genetic analysis. It is important that you feel well enough for the consultation, otherwise we advise you to reschedule the appointment in time. Missed appointments will be charged.

Can I bring a trusted person to the consultation at my desire?

Yes, it can be helpful and supportive to discuss the information gained during the consultation with a trusted person afterwards.

If I come to the consultation, do I also have to have an analysis performed?

No, the consultation is an initial meeting where you can ask questions and receive information from our physicians. You can decide not to have a diagnostic laboratory test at any time, or you can decide to have one at a later time.

Timeline from initial consultation to diagnosis

The duration from the initial consultation in our outpatient clinic until the diagnosis is established can vary greatly depending on the questions asked and the complexity of the test.
It is also dependent on factors over which we have little influence, such as the granting of cost approvals by health insurance companies.

Depending on the question, extensive and time-consuming research may be necessary following the initial consultation.

  • Diagnostic genetic tests take very different amounts of time depending on the complexity of the test. Simple tests can be expected to take 2-4 weeks, more complex tests take several months.
  • For rarer diagnoses, the laboratory results often require further extensive research by the specialist in medical genetics before the facts can be explained to you.
  • In individual cases, the individual laboratory results may require very lengthy follow-up analyses. If this is the case, you will be informed and the next course of proceedings will be discussed with you.
  • The results of any genetic tests and the resulting impact on your health or family planning will be discussed with you in detail in a further consultation. You will be asked to come back to the outpatients' clinic for this.
  • Afterwards, you and the physicians involved in your treatment will receive a final written report. 
  • If a longer processing period is foreseeable, an interim report will be prepared.
  • If we have to request a cost approval from the health insurance company before the commencement of the test, this can delay the start of the analysis by several months (see "Information Sheet on Costs and Cost Coverage").
  • When planning a pregnancy, any clarifications should therefore be initiated before the onset of pregnancy if possible. In an "emergency", we make every effort to reduce processing times to the shortest possible time, but we cannot ensure that the outcome will be successful. 
  • Our medical practitioners will discuss the expected timeline for your examination with you during your consultation.

What costs should I expect?

What costs should I expect?

  • Genetic consultations, like other medical consultations, are charged according to the TARMED tariffs on a time basis in Tiers Payant (invoicing directly to the health insurance provider).
  • In addition to the actual consultation, costs generally arise for the associated work in the absence of the patient, as well as for the preparation of any reports.
  • As a rule, costs of at least CHF 500 must be expected. For more complex cases, the costs may be significantly higher.
  • The costs for a diagnostic genetic test are regulated in the analysis list of the Federal Office of Public Health and vary greatly depending on the question and test (from approx. CHF 300 to several thousand Francs).

What costs are covered by health insurance?

  • Medical consultations are usually covered by basic health insurance. However, it is advisable to arrange the consultation with a letter of referral from one of your treating physicians.
  • If you are insured under the GP model, a referral from your GP is required in order for the costs to be covered by basic health insurance.
  • The costs for most diagnostic genetic tests are regulated by the list of tests covered by basic health insurance and vary greatly depending on the test.
  • During your consultation, our medical consultants will discuss with you the possibilities of having the costs covered by your health insurance.
  • When choosing your annual deductible, please note that genetic tests can take a long period of time.
  • If you change your health insurance provider, please inform us immediately.
  • Disability Insurance ( DI ) is generally not responsible for covering the costs of genetic tests/counseling, but may still cover the costs in some rare individual cases.

How is the invoice issued?

  • Invoices for consultations are issued by the "Ärztekasse - Caisse des Médecins".
  • Invoices for diagnostic genetic tests are issued by the Finance Department of the University of Zurich (UZH).

The data required for this will be forwarded to the "Ärztekasse - Caisse des Médecins" / Finance Department of UZH. This data is treated confidentially and does not allow any conclusions to be drawn about the medical treatment. In the event of non-payment of the invoice: the debt collection companies, debt enforcement office, justice of peace office and competent courts will only receive the relevant information (address data and the total amount of the invoice).