Are genetic counselors over promoting certain exams for personal gain?

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Little Kate Summersgill certainly didn’t look like a child with Down syndrome — no upward slanting eyes or telltale flat facial features.

Devon and Mike Summersgill had believed baby Kate was all but certain to be born with the intellect-stunting disorder because of a blood test Devon’s doctor recommended during her 2014 pregnancy. Even after the birth, when their baby looked fine, their genetic counselor, Laura Limone, insisted that the result of the test was not a mistake, Devon Summersgill says.

Parents are starting to question the independence of the fast-growing field of genetic counseling as more and more counselors are paid by the companies that make the tests.

About 14 percent of the nation’s 4,000 genetic counselors worked directly for testing labs in 2014, up from 9 percent just two years earlier, according to their professional society. The balance tend to work for hospitals or doctors’ practices.

“It’s a mass exodus to labs” where pay tends to be higher and the perks are better, said Cori Feist, a genetic counselor with Oregon Health & Science University.

Concerns are also growing that counselors working in close proximity to patients in doctors’ offices may be overpromoting tests. Pennsylvania and Florida have prohibited lab personnel, including genetic counselors, from working at health care providers’ sites.

Read full, original post: When baby is due, genetic counselors seen downplaying false alarms

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