Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide and a significant number of cases are from an unknown cause. The American Kidney Fund is working to help identify why so many patients get CKD, and genetic counseling has a powerful role to play in that endeavor.
Genetic counselors are trained and certified to interpret complex genetic information and to share that information in an understandable way to patients. Currently, Medicare does not recognize genetic counselors as health care providers, which can leave kidney patients without access to a professional who can help them understand how their genetic make-up could impact their health or influence their choice in treatments.
The Access to Genetic Counselor Services Act of 2021 (H.R. 2144\S. 1450) would change Medicare law so the program would recognize genetic counselors as health care providers so they can be reimbursed directly by Medicare. The bill would give Medicare beneficiaries greater access to their services.
Requiring Medicare to recognize genetic counselors as providers also has an impact on private insurance. Some insurers do not cover services from a provider not recognized by Medicare, which can lead to high out of pocket expenses for patients requiring the services of a genetic counselor. This makes pursuing the needed medical knowledge, information, and treatment plan very difficult and it comes at a time when families are facing complex medical decisions.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives today.