The “Access to Genetic Counselor Services Act of 2018” legislation bill has been introduced to the US House of Representatives this week. This is in an push towards recognition of certified genetic counselors by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as healthcare providers. Without this recognition, they are unable to receive payment for counseling Medicare beneficiaries.

The bill is cosponsored by Congressmen Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), and was developed with the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

“Certified genetic counselors are not currently recognised by CMS even though genetic counseling is a covered benefit under Medicare,” the NSGC said in a statement. “As a result, CGCs cannot be reimbursed for counseling Medicare beneficiaries, which impedes access to these uniquely trained healthcare professionals who attended specialised master’s degree programs in genetic counseling.”

“CMS recognition has been a priority for our organization because the services genetic counselors provide can have a huge impact on the health of individuals and their families, especially as both the benefits of personalized medicine and complexities of genetic testing are expanding…Adding genetic counselors as qualified Medicare providers is an important link in achieving optimal health system performance,” NSGC President Erica Ramos added.