The aims of this report are to describe the genetic plan for Emilia-Romagna, a region in Italy, and to contribute to the international exchange of information on developing and applying policy frameworks to provide high-quality and comprehensive genetic health care in the publicly funded health systems. At the present time there is no national policy for genetic medicine in Italy, and only two regions, Emilia-Romagna and Liguria, have formally agreed to a strategic plan for health care in genetics. The current provision of genetic services in Emilia-Romagna is described focusing on the intra- and inter-organizational linkages to ensure a comprehensive system of coordinated activities. Strengths and implementation areas are highlighted. Points that must be solved within the regional or national context are the definition of the level of assistance required in genetic medicine, the formal professional recognition of the genetic counselor and the adjustment of the billing mechanisms to the complexities of clinical genetic services. Issues that need to be addressed at a wider level include full assessment of genetic tests before their introduction into clinical practice, networking to provide tests for the rarest genetic diseases, consensus on fundamental terminology and clinical and administrative data sets to promote a cohesive framework for the flow of information throughout the health care systems with respect to genetics.

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