Congress to Consider Bill for Medicare to Recognize Genetic Counselors
H.R. 7083, entitled the “Access to Genetic Counselor Services Act of 2018,” is cosponsored by Congressmen Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), and was developed in collaboration with the National Society of Genetic Counselors. The goal is to add genetic counselors as qualified Medicare providers, so they can receive payment for counseling Medicare beneficiaries. In addition, genetic counselors could see Medicare beneficiaries without supervision. This will create consistency between state licensure and CMS policy.
Currently, certified genetic counselors are not recognized by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services even though genetic counseling is a covered benefit under Medicare. However, genetic counselors play an integral role in patient care by helping individuals understand the diseases that affect them and their families, by interpreting genetic test results, and by explaining how those results may guide prevention and treatment options. While access to genetic counseling remains an issue due to the inadequate number of certified genetic counselors, there is the possibility that passage of this bill could reduce unnecessary spending on inappropriate genetic tests ordered by providers who may lack genetic expertise, thereby improving patient care.
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