Journal Club
Open Access Article

The Need to Be Aware and Beware of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act

Mary Beth Steck

Julie Eggert

genetic counseling, genetic testing, genetic analysis
CJON 2011, 15(3), E34-E41. DOI: 10.1188/11.CJON.E34-E41

Genetic advancements have presented numerous discrimination predicaments to individuals, the healthcare community, and legislators at state and federal levels. Oncology nurses should be knowledgeable about the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA) and its applications to clinical practice. GINA is the first federal law passed to protect U.S. citizens with inherited disorders from being treated unfairly because of their genetic makeup. Understanding the legislation known as GINA, including how it modifies existing federal laws governing health insurance coverage and employment discrimination, can assist oncology nurses in providing important education and advocating for patients and their extended families. Federal agencies that govern and enforce GINA's provisions are identified. Case situations are included to demonstrate how to apply information concerning GINA to patients with cancer and their families who are considering or have already completed genetic testing. Privacy of genetic information is a timely issue but difficult to understand; therefore, provisions of GINA should be addressed and evaluated carefully.

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