Did you know that Medicare beneficiaries can have genetic testing and genetic counseling but not by board-certified genetic counselors - the largest group of medical genetics professionals in the country?
The US Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) currently provide coverage of medical services for 60 million US beneficiaries. CMS covers the cost of genetic testing and allows healthcare providers to bill for genetic counseling services. However, because CMS doesn’t recognize genetic counselors as healthcare providers, genetic counselors cannot see patients independently and be reimbursed for their services. This gap in reimbursement coverage creates a barrier to care by decreasing access to appropriately trained health care professionals, increasing costs to CMS, causing longer wait-times for appointments and medical errors due to incorrect interpretation of genetic information by non-genetics trained providers.
Luckily, there is a solution.
H.R. 3235 - Access to Genetic Counselor Services Act of 2019, is a bill that is currently before Congress and is designed to rectify this significant gap in coverage for US Medicare beneficiaries.
To better understand the importance of H.R. 3235, it is important to understand some basic facts about genetic counseling in the United States.
H.R. 3235 will allow CMS beneficiaries to be seen by genetic counselors ensuring that they receive the benefits of the rapidly advancing field of medical genetics in a timely, cost-effective and professional manner.