June 9, 2022

In-house clinical genomics testing protocol alleviates financial burden for qualifying patients

A new protocol for ordering clinical genomics testing has been implemented, effective June 15, which will minimize the financial impact for qualifying patients who require diagnostic testing for genetic disorders.

Testing through the Vanderbilt Clinical Genomics Laboratory (VCGL) is now eligible for VUMC’s financial assistance program for qualifying patients, including all TennCare members.

“Qualifying patients will be counseled on this resource availability,” said Brent Spencer, director of VUMC Revenue Cycle, Patient Financial Clearance.

With this change, VUMC clinicians are asked to consistently use the in-house services of the Clinical Genomics Laboratory when available. Please see the following link for information on eligibility: https://www.vanderbilthealth.com/information/financial-assistance.

“Using our laboratory provides better patient care because of the great communication and synergy between the clinical providers and the pathologists,” said Mary Zutter, MD, vice president for Integrative Diagnostics and Louis B. McGavock Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology. “We have made changes to remove potential financial barriers and continue to improve our internal lab operations. As we continue to offer more tests, we believe containing genetic testing in-house will benefit patients, providers and the institution.”

“Performing these tests in-house not only ensures all patients receive equitable, expedient care; doing genetic testing at VUMC also keeps data accessible for improved patient care and future research,” said Emily Solem, MS, CGC, assistant in Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.

“As we continue to evolve as an institution of precision medicine and genetic science, we are expanding and refining of our test offerings, and we hope to serve as the main lab for genetic testing at VUMC,” Solem said. “We want to continue to work with providers to make this happen.”

The Clinical Genomics Laboratory, which opened in early 2020, initially offered whole exome sequencing, making VUMC one of only a handful of academic medical centers to provide the specialized testing in-house. Now, the laboratory has expanded to offer germline genetic panels for epilepsy, neuromuscular disease, neuropathies, connective tissue disorders and aortopathies, arrhythmias, cardiomyopathies, comprehensive cardiac disease, and known familial variant (NGS) testing.

Refer to the tip sheet for ordering panels, the tip sheet for ordering exome, or the VCGL website: https://www.vumc.org/vcgl/ for more information on the lab and current offerings. If you have questions regarding the financial process, please contact brent.a.spencer@vumc.org. If you have questions concerning current lab offerings and ordering, please contact Emily.p.solem@vumc.org .