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Guidelines for breast and ovarian cancer genetic counseling referral: adoption and implementation in HMOs

PURPOSE: To describe referral guidelines for hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) counseling among a group of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) and awareness of such among primary care clinicians. METHODS: An organizational assessment of plan policies and a primary care clinician survey. RESULTS: Five of the 7 HMOs reported having HBOC referral guidelines. Differences between plan’s criteria included age of breast cancer onset, inclusion of male breast cancer, and second-degree relatives. Of the 91% clinicians responding, only half were aware of the HBOC guidelines. Awareness was higher in the plan with the most intense implementation effort (OR=3.0, 1.5-5.9) and among gynecologists (OR=2.8, 1.5-5.4). CONCLUSIONS: Although HBOC counseling guidelines within participating HMOs identify persons for referral that can be easily incorporated into routine practice, continued work is needed to better understand how to help primary care providers identify high-risk persons, and new models of providing genetic services may need to be considered.

Authors: Mouchawar J; Valentine Goins K; Somkin C; Puleo E; Hensley Alford S; Geiger AM; Taplin S; Gilbert J; Weinmann S; Zapka J

Genet Med. 2003 Nov-Dec;5(6):444-50.

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