Please join your colleagues in NSGC and me in contributing to the NSGC Political Action Committee (PAC). As you may know, the NSGC PAC helps increase our visibility in Washington, D.C. and ensures that we have a seat at the table with key policy makers in Congress. Your contribution is critical to help us support the Members of Congress (MOCs) who share our views on increasing access to genetic counselors.
After taking a pause on soliciting contributions during the challenges faced by everyone during the pandemic, and in consideration of the challenging political environment we continue to work within, we are now redoubling our efforts to build up the PAC. We are asking you, an NSGC member to contribute and to help us lead the way.
The NSGC PAC will support direct conversations with federal elected officials and help us develop impactful relationships with them. Federal candidates are ramping up their political fundraising and the NSGC PAC has to respond. As Congress considers prioritizing thousands of bills, we need to support MOCs who appreciate the importance of increasing access to genetic counselors. NSGC as an organization cannot give money to election campaigns. The NSGC PAC is a voluntary bi-partisan organization established as a mechanism to pool individual member donations specifically toward congressional candidates. The PAC is supported by and draws on our collective efforts, allowing genetic counselors to increase the impact of your personal donations.
The NSGC PAC thanks the 77 genetic counselors who have contributed almost $12,000, to date. The average contribution is $157 – a fantastic number. If more members contribute to the NSGC PAC at these levels, our contributions will add up quickly: $25 - $50 contributions from 1,000 genetic counselors would have a huge impact.
Once again, we would like to invite you to join the NSGC PAC. We need your support so we can collectively support the federal elected officials who support access to and reimbursement for the critically important services you provide.
Please consider contributing. For more information, click HERE.
Update from the Hill
There is no other initiative that would significantly change the landscape for genetic counselor reimbursement than S. 1450 and H.R. 2144, the “Access to Genetic Counselor Services Act.” These bills will have far reaching impact, which is why the Rare Disease Legislative Advocates (RDLA) have decided to prioritize the “Access to Genetic Counselor Services Act” during Rare Disease Week on Capitol Hill in July 2021. NSGC is appreciative of and grateful for the RDLA’s support. While S.1450/H.R. 2144 would directly affect Medicare beneficiaries, creating a revenue stream under the Medicare program would allow more hospitals and physician practices to hire genetic counselors—increasing access for all, including families affected by rare disease
This Congress has seen an unprecedented number of bills introduced in this session – over 6,000 already. To make our bill a priority, we need to utilize all the tools in our advocacy tool belt. In addition to the NSGC PAC, the Advocacy Coordinating Committee (ACC) is doing extremely important grassroots work. They are methodically identifying genetic counselors and coordinating contact directly to congressional staff. The ACC members’ time and efforts are significant and genetic counselor responsiveness is critical. We’ve seen cosponsors grow as a direct result of the efforts of the ACC
However, there are many genetic counselors that are not answering the ACC’s calls to action and we need additional membership participation. If you answered an NSGC call to action and used NSGC’s online tool to send a message to a Congressional office, we thank you, and we now ask that you take the next step. Your efforts to contact your legislators’’ staff directly will ensure we have even greater impact and we need your help to be successful. The ACC work has to be methodical - -we need to create an echo chamber and find the balance of being the squeaky wheel, without becoming an irritant to legislators and their staff. ACC members work to find that balance, so if your regional leader contacts you, please answer their call to action—it is important. It will only take a few minutes of your time to make your voice heard and have an impact on the long-term health of the profession.
This year, 2021 has been our most successful year ever in enacting state licensure legislation. NSGC wants to thank the genetic counselors in Florida for becoming the fourth state to enact a law this year. NSGC also thanks the Florida legislators, Senator Shevrin Jones and Representatives David Silvers and Tom Leek, who were champions for the issue, as well as Governor Ron DeSantis for signing the bill into law.
NSGC also thanks all the Maryland genetic counselors, Senator Clarence Lam, and Delegate Alfred Carr who saw their bill self-enact May 30, after clearing both the Senate and Assembly.
There are several states with bills still alive - Rhode Island is next. With only five days left in their session, the bill is up for consideration in committee today. It has a chance at making it to the floor before the session ends. Both Rhode Island and Florida had bills vetoed in years past. The two other states that passed licensure legislation thus far in 2021 are Montana and Oregon.
Of note, these bills have genetic counselor support, but importantly, they also have the support of patient advocates, hospitals, physicians, and state medical societies, which is a tribute to the important services genetic counselors provide.