February 2019 President's Letter

We’re almost to the end of the shortest month of 2019! Time is flying by! But, over the past few short weeks since I last wrote to you in the January Advocate, NSGC has been hustling “behind the scenes” to accelerate the objectives outlined in the 2019-2021 strategic plan.

The second strategic goal in the plan states “NSGC will engage government and third-party payers in order to increase access to genetic counselor services.” Several action steps, including advocating for robust coverage policies and adequate reimbursement, working with third-party payers to simplify and streamline the preauthorization process, and educating payers about the value of employing and consulting with genetic counselors in roles including utilization management, coverage policy development and review, are outlined in the strategic plan. In order to push this work forward, NSGC will be hosting a Payer Roundtable this spring. The Payer Roundtable Steering Committee is chaired by genetic counselor Stephanie Gandomi, who is working with NSGC’s Government Relations team members John Richardson and Molly Giammarco to bring together payer representatives with multiple perspectives to discuss the issues facing genetic counselors. Additional members of the Steering Committee include Katie Dunn, Cheryl Harper, Gillian Hooker, Heather Shappell and Scott Weissman.

This past month, the NSGC Board of Directors approved the charter and members of the NSGCares Task Force. NSGCares efforts will be aimed at increasing support for genetic counselors and for those in our professional network, patients and their families, and the organizations and communities that support them. Over the course of the next few months, the NSGCares Task Force will be working on a vision statement for NSGCares and accompanying recommendations for the ways in which NSGC is uniquely positioned to help support the genetic counseling and larger genetics community with community-building initiatives.

In addition, the NSGC Board of Directors approved the charter and members of the NSGC Research Task Force. This task force will work to advance the third goal of the 2019-2021 strategic plan, which states that NSGC will develop an infrastructure to accelerate research to evaluate genetic counseling processes and outcomes. NSGC has realized the need to accelerate research to demonstrate outcomes from genetic counseling provided by genetic counselors. Currently, multiple research initiatives are underway within NSGC. While each of these existing efforts are advancing the genetic counseling profession, NSGC would like to coordinate and prioritize society resources to advance research critical to the achievement of our strategic objectives, while understanding and acknowledging that resources within other areas of the society can continue to support ongoing and/or new research efforts. Later this year, the Board will receive the recommendations from the task force, which will include recommendations for research priorities to be included in NSGC’s 2019-2021 research agenda. I look forward to being able to share with the membership the research agenda once it is approved by the Board!

Finally, the Board of Directors will be convening next week in Chicago for our in-person winter board meeting. We will be focusing on wide-ranging topics, including what will be a robust conversation on how best to promote collaborative approaches to care that support the delivery of effective, efficient, value-based genetic services across healthcare systems.

I look forward to sharing updates from the winter board meeting, as well as additional progress on NSGC’s strategic initiatives, task forces and the Payer Roundtable in the next Advocate.

Onward and upward!
Amy Curry Sturm
2019 NSGC President


This article was published in the February 2019 Advocate Newsletter.

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