SENATE, No. 2990

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 29, 2011

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  NIA H. GILL

District 34 (Essex and Passaic)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Revises scope of practice of genetic counselors.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning genetic counselors and amending and supplementing P.L.2009, c.41.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 3 of P.L.2009, c.41 (C.45:9-37.113) is amended to read as follows:

     3.    As used in this act:

     "Board" means the State Board of Medical Examiners established pursuant to R.S.45:9-1.

     "Director" means the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

     "Genetic counseling" means a communication process, conducted by one or more appropriately trained individuals, that may include: obtaining and interpreting individual, family, medical and developmental histories; determining the mode of inheritance  and risk of transmission of genetic conditions and birth defects; discussing the inheritance features, natural history, means of diagnosis, and management of genetic conditions and birth defects; identifying, coordinating, [interpreting,] and explaining genetic laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies; assessing psychosocial factors [,]; recognizing social, educational, and cultural issues; evaluating the client’s or family’s responses to the condition or risk of recurrence and providing client-centered counseling and anticipatory guidance; and facilitating informed decision making about testing, management, and alternatives.

     "Genetic Counseling Advisory Committee" or "committee" means the Genetic Counseling Advisory Committee established pursuant to section 4 of this act.

     "Genetic counselor" means a health professional with specialized education, training and experience in medical genetics who meets the requirements for licensure as provided in this act.

     "Licensed genetic counselor" means a person who holds a current, valid license issued pursuant to section 9 of this act.

     "Supervision" means the direct review of a supervisee for the purpose of teaching, training, administration, accountability or clinical review by a supervisor in the same area of specialized practice.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.41, s.3)

 

     2.    Section 7 of P.L.2009, c.41 (C.45:9-37.117) is amended to read as follows:

     7.    Except as provided in this section, a person shall not engage in the practice of genetic counseling as a genetic counselor, or hold himself out as a genetic counselor unless the person is licensed in accordance with this act.

     a.     (1) Only an individual may be licensed to practice genetic counseling within the State.  A firm, partnership, association or corporation shall not advertise or otherwise offer to provide or convey the impression that it is providing genetic counseling services unless an individual holding a current valid license pursuant to the provisions of this act shall be rendering the genetic counseling services.

     (2)   A person who is not licensed as a genetic counselor shall not use the title "genetic counselor," "licensed genetic counselor," "gene counselor," "genetic consultant," "genetic associate" or any words, abbreviations, acronyms, insignia or combination of words, abbreviations, acronyms or insignias of similar import in relation to the person's name, occupation, or place of business.

     b.    The provisions of this act shall not prohibit an out-of-State genetic counselor from working as a consultant, or out-of-State employer or other organization from employing genetic counselors providing occasional services, who are not licensed pursuant to this act, from engaging in the practice of genetic counseling, subject to the stated circumstances and limitations as defined by the board, in consultation with the committee, by regulation, so long as the genetic counselor holds a license, if available, in the genetic counselor's state of employment.  If licensure is not available in the genetic counselor's state of employment, the genetic counselor shall be certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling or the American Board of Medical Genetics, or their successors, in order to practice genetic counseling without a State license in accordance with this subsection.

     c.     The provisions of this act shall not apply to:

     (1)   A person licensed by the State to practice medicine and surgery [when acting within the scope of the person's profession and doing work of a nature consistent with the person's training, so long as the person does not hold himself out to the public as a genetic counselor];

     (2)   A person licensed by the State as a registered nurse when acting within the scope of the person's profession and doing work of a nature consistent with the person's training, so long as the person does not hold himself out to the public as a genetic counselor;

     (3)   A student candidate for a degree in genetic counseling, or its equivalent as approved by the board in consultation with the committee by regulation, enrolled in an educational program accredited by the American Board of Genetic Counseling or its successor, so long as the student is practicing as part of a supervised course of study and is clearly designated by the title "genetic counseling intern" or title of similar import; or

     (4)   A graduate with a degree in genetic counseling, or its equivalent as approved by the board in consultation with the committee by regulation, from an educational program accredited by the American Board of Genetic Counseling or its successor, who has not passed the examination for licensure but otherwise has met all of the licensing requirements of this act, so long as [: (a)] the person: (a) does not hold himself out to the public as a licensed genetic counselor; (b) practices under the supervision of a licensed genetic counselor or geneticist; and (c) successfully passes the examination for licensure within the first two available examination cycles next following the filing of an application for licensure as a genetic counselor.

(cf: P.L.2009, c.41, s.7)

 

     3.    (New section) If in the course of providing genetic counseling to any patient, a genetic counselor finds any indication of disease or condition that requires medical assessment, the genetic counselor shall refer that patient to a physician licensed to practice medicine and surgery.

 

     4.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill amends the “Genetic Counselor’s Licensing Act,” P.L.2009, c.41 (C.45:9-37.111 et seq.).  Under current law, genetic counseling includes interpreting genetic laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies.  This bill removes from a genetic counselor’s scope of practice interpreting such laboratory tests and other diagnostic studies.  The bill also mandates that if in the course of providing a genetic counseling service to any patient, a genetic counselor finds any indication of disease or condition that requires medical assessment, the genetic counselor shall refer that patient to a physician licensed to practice medicine and surgery.

     In addition, the bill stipulates that the provisions of the “Genetic Counselor’s Licensing Act” shall not apply to a person licensed by the State to practice medicine and surgery.  Currently, the law states that the provisions of the act shall not apply to a person licensed by the State to practice medicine and surgery when acting within the scope of the person's profession and doing work of a nature consistent with the person's training, so long as the person does not hold himself out to the public as a genetic counselor.