Sara Riordan, John Richardson, Heather Zierhut, Bradley L. Goodnight, Fred H. Sieling, Christopher M. Black, Rebekah A. Moore
If passed, the “Access to Genetic Counselor Services Act” will authorize genetic counselors to provide services under Medicare part B. We assert that Medicare policy should be updated through the enactment of this legislation to provide Medicare beneficiaries with direct access to genetic counselor services. In this article, we discuss the background, history, and some recent research relevant to patient access to genetic counselors to provide context and perspective regarding the rationale, justification, and potential results of the proposed legislation. We outline the potential impact of Medicare policy reform, including the effect on access to genetic counselors in high-demand areas or underserved communities. Although the proposed legislation pertains only to Medicare, we argue that private systems will also be impacted by passage as this may lead to an increase in hiring and retention of genetic counselors by health systems, thereby improving access to genetic counselors across the US.
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