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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 52 Pa.B. 7348 (November 26, 2022).

Pennsylvania Code



Subchapter K. GENETIC COUNSELORS


Sec.


18.701.    Purpose.
18.702.    Definitions.
18.703.    Application for genetic counselor license.
18.704.    Application for genetic counselor license by uncertified persons.
18.705.    Application for temporary provisional genetic counselor license.
18.706.    Biennial registration of genetic counselor license.
18.707.    Inactive status of genetic counselor license; reactivation of inactive license.
18.708.    Disciplinary action for applicants and genetic counselors.
18.709.    Continuing education for genetic counselors.
18.710.    Professional liability insurance coverage for genetic counselors.

Authority

   The provisions of this Subchapter K issued under sections 3, 8 and 13.4 of the Medical Practice Act of 1985 (63 P.S. § §  422.8 and 422.13d); and the act of December 22, 2011 (P.L. 576, No. 125), unless otherwise noted.

Source

   The provisions of this Subchapter K adopted October 31, 2014, effective November 1, 2014, 44 Pa.B. 6923, unless otherwise noted.

§ 18.701. Purpose.

 This subchapter implements section 13.4 of the act (63 P. S. §  422.13d), regarding genetic counselors.

§ 18.702. Definitions.

 The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   ABGC—The American Board of Genetic Counseling or an equivalent successor.

   ABMG—The American Board of Medical Genetics or an equivalent successor.

   Active candidate status—The designation awarded to an individual who has received approval from the ABGC or the ABMG to sit for the respective certification examination.

   Genetic counseling—The provision of services to individuals, couples, families and organizations by one or more appropriately trained individuals to address the physical and psychological issues associated with the occurrence or risk of occurrence of a genetic disorder, birth defect or genetically influenced condition or disease in an individual or a family.

   Genetic counselor—An individual who is licensed to practice genetic counseling by the Board or the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

   Graduate genetic counselor—An individual who has been issued a temporary provisional genetic counselor license by the Board under §  18.705 (relating to application for temporary provisional genetic counselor license) to practice under the supervision of a physician or genetic counselor.

   Hour of continuing education—At least 50 minutes of instruction, including relevant question and answer sessions, in an approved course of continuing education or an equivalent time that an online or correspondence course would be presented live.

   NSGC—The National Society of Genetic Counselors or an equivalent successor.

§ 18.703. Application for genetic counselor license.

 (a)  An applicant for a license to practice as a genetic counselor shall submit, on forms made available by the Board, a completed application for a license to practice as a genetic counselor, including the necessary supporting documents, and pay the application fee in §  16.13(m) (relating to licensure, certification, examination and registration fees).

 (b)  The Board may issue a license to practice as a genetic counselor to an applicant who demonstrates that the applicant:

   (1)  Is at least 21 years of age and of good moral character, as required under section 13.4(e)(1) and (2) of the act (63 P.S. §  422.13d(e)(1) and (2)).

   (2)  Has received a master’s degree or doctoral degree in human genetics or genetic counseling from an ABGC-accredited or ABMG-accredited educational program or has met the requirements for certification by the ABGC or the ABMG. Proof of the degree, if applicable, shall be sent directly from the applicant’s education program and include an official transcript.

   (3)  Has passed the examination for certification as a genetic counselor by the ABGC or the ABMG or has passed the examination for certification as a Ph.D. medical geneticist by the ABMG. Proof that the applicant has passed the examination shall be sent directly from the ABGC or the ABMG, and may include proof of current certification.

   (4)  Has obtained professional liability insurance, or is exempt from the requirement to obtain professional liability insurance, as set forth in §  18.710 (relating to professional liability insurance coverage for genetic counselors).

   (5)  Has completed at least 3 hours of approved training in child abuse recognition and reporting in accordance with §  16.108(a) (relating to child abuse recognition and reporting—mandatory training requirement).

 (c)  The Board may deny an application for licensure as a genetic counselor upon the grounds for disciplinary action in §  18.708 (relating to disciplinary action for applicants and genetic counselors).

Authority

   The provisions of this §  18.703 amended under section 8 of the Medical Practice Act of 1985 (63 P.S. §  422.8); and 23 Pa.C.S. §  6383(b)(2).

Source

   The provisions of this §  18.703 amended March 25, 2022, effective March 26, 2022, 52 Pa.B. 1899. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (373952) to (373953).

Cross References

   This section cited in 49 Pa. Code §  18.705 (relating to application for temporary provisional genetic counselor license).

§ 18.704. Application for genetic counselor license by uncertified persons.

 (a)  An applicant for a license to practice as a genetic counselor who has never passed the ABGC or ABMG certification examination shall submit, on forms made available by the Board, a completed application for a license to practice as a genetic counselor, including the necessary supporting documents, and pay the application fee in §  16.13(m) (relating to licensure, certification, examination and registration fees).

 (b)  The Board may issue a license to practice as a genetic counselor to an uncertified applicant who:

   (1)  Submits an application to the Board, along with the required supporting documentation, by February 20, 2015.

   (2)  Demonstrates that the applicant is at least 21 years of age and of good moral character as required under section 13.4(e)(1) and (2) of the act (63 P. S. §  422.13d(e)(1) and (2)).

   (3)  Demonstrates that the applicant has received a master’s degree or higher in genetics or a related field of study and has worked as a genetic counselor for a minimum of 3 continuous years preceding December 22, 2011, or has received a bachelor’s degree in genetics or a related field of study and has been employed as a genetic counselor for at least 10 continuous years prior to December 22, 2011.

     (i)   Proof of the degree shall be sent directly from the applicant’s educational program and include an official transcript.

     (ii)   Related fields of study must include core courses in genetics.

     (iii)   Proof of employment as a genetic counselor may include Federal income tax forms or notarized letters from the applicant’s employers.

   (4)  Submits at least three letters of recommendation, including one from a genetic counselor certified by the ABGC or the ABMG and one from either a clinical geneticist or medical geneticist certified by the ABMG. A person who submits a letter of recommendation shall have worked with the applicant in an employment setting sometime during the previous 10 continuous years and be able to attest to the applicant’s competency in providing genetic counseling services.

   (5)  Demonstrates that the applicant has obtained professional liability insurance, or is exempt from the requirement to obtain professional liability insurance, as set forth in §  18.710 (relating to professional liability insurance coverage for genetic counselors).

   (6)  Demonstrates that the applicant has completed at least 3 hours of approved training in child abuse recognition and reporting in accordance with §  16.108(a) (relating to child abuse recognition and reporting—mandatory training requirement).

Authority

   The provisions of this §  18.704 amended under section 8 of the Medical Practice Act of 1985 (63 P.S. §  422.8); and 23 Pa.C.S. §  6383(b)(2).

Source

   The provisions of this §  18.704 amended March 25, 2022, effective March 26, 2022, 52 Pa.B. 1899. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (373953) to (373954).

§ 18.705. Application for temporary provisional genetic counselor license.

 (a)  An applicant for a temporary provisional genetic counselor license shall submit, on forms made available by the Board, a completed application, including the necessary supporting documents, and pay the fee in §  16.13(m) (relating to licensure, certification, examination and registration fees) for an application for a temporary provisional genetic counselor license.

 (b)  The Board may grant a temporary provisional genetic counselor license, which authorizes the license holder to practice only under the supervision of a genetic counselor or physician licensed under the act or under the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act (63 P. S. § §  271.1—271.18), to an applicant who:

   (1)  Demonstrates that the applicant has been granted active candidate status establishing eligibility to sit for the next available certification examination offered by the ABGC.

   (2)  Demonstrates that the applicant is at least 21 years of age, of good moral character and has completed an application form provided by the Board.

   (3)  Otherwise complies with this subchapter.

 (c)  The Board may deny an application for a temporary provisional genetic counselor license upon the grounds in §  18.708 (relating to disciplinary action for applicants and genetic counselors).

 (d)  A temporary provisional genetic counselor license will expire upon the close of the second examination period for which the holder is eligible to test following the date of issuance of the temporary provisional license and may not be renewed.

 (e)  A temporary provisional genetic counselor license will expire upon notice to the Board that the holder has not passed the certification examination within two examination cycles after receiving the temporary provisional license. The holder of a temporary provisional genetic counselor license who fails to pass the examination within two examination cycles shall immediately cease practicing and return the license to the Board. An individual whose temporary provisional genetic counselor license has expired under subsection (d) or this subsection may apply for a genetic counselor license when the individual can demonstrate the qualifications in §  18.703 (relating to application for genetic counselor license).

 (f)  The holder of a temporary provisional genetic counselor license may not use the title ‘‘genetic counselor.’’ The holder of a temporary provisional genetic counselor license may use the title ‘‘graduate genetic counselor’’ but may not use an abbreviation of the title.

 (g)  A graduate genetic counselor shall inform clients that the graduate genetic counselor holds a temporary provisional license and practices under supervision.

Cross References

   This section cited in 49 Pa. Code §  18.702 (relating to definitions).

§ 18.706. Biennial registration of genetic counselor license.

 (a)  The license of a genetic counselor will expire biennially on December 31 of each even-numbered year in accordance with §  16.15 (relating to biennial registration; inactive status and unregistered status). A genetic counselor may not practice after December 31 of an even-numbered year unless the genetic counselor has completed the biennial renewal process and the Board has issued a renewed license.

 (b)  As a condition of biennial renewal, a genetic counselor shall:

   (1)  Submit a completed application, including payment of the biennial registration fee in §  16.13(m) (relating to licensure, certification, examination and registration fees) for application for biennial registration of genetic counselor license.

   (2)  Disclose on the application a license to practice as a genetic counselor in another state, district, territory, possession or country.

   (3)  Disclose on the application disciplinary action pending before or taken by the appropriate health care licensing authority in another jurisdiction since the most recent application for biennial registration, whether or not licensed to practice in that other jurisdiction.

   (4)  Disclose on the application pending criminal charges and a finding or verdict of guilt, admission of guilt, plea of nolo contendere, probation without verdict, disposition instead of trial or accelerated rehabilitative disposition in any criminal matter since the most recent application for biennial registration.

   (5)  Verify on the application that the genetic counselor has complied with the continuing education requirements mandated by section 13.4(j) of the act (63 P. S. §  422.13d(j)) during the biennial period immediately preceding the period for which registration is sought in accordance with §  18.709 (relating to continuing education for genetic counselors).

   (6)  Verify on the application that, if practicing as a genetic counselor in this Commonwealth, the licensee maintains professional liability insurance coverage in accordance with §  18.710 (relating to professional liability insurance coverage for genetic counselors).

§ 18.707. Inactive status of genetic counselor license; reactivation of inactive license.

 (a)  A genetic counselor license will become inactive upon either of the following:

   (1)  The licensee requests in writing that the Board place the license on inactive status. Written confirmation of inactive status will be forwarded to the licensee.

   (2)  The licensee fails to register the license by the expiration of the biennial registration period, that is, by December 31 of each even-numbered year.

 (b)  A genetic counselor whose license has become inactive may not practice as a genetic counselor in this Commonwealth until the license has been reactivated.

 (c)  To reactivate an inactive license, the licensee shall apply on forms made available by the Board. The licensee shall:

   (1)  Include the documentation required under §  18.709 (relating to continuing education for genetic counselors) for the immediately preceding biennium. Unless waived by the Board under section 13.4(j)(3) of the act (63 P. S. §  422.13d(j)(3)), the Board will not reactivate a license until the required continuing education for the preceding biennium has been successfully completed.

   (2)  Pay the current biennial registration fee and the reactivation application fee specified in §  16.13(m) (relating to licensure, certification, examination and registration fees).

   (3)  Except as provided in subsection (d), verify that the licensee did not practice as a genetic counselor in this Commonwealth while the license was inactive.

 (d)  A licensee whose license has been inactive for 4 years or more shall demonstrate continued competence by showing current certification by the ABGC.

 (e)  A licensee who has practiced with an inactive license, and who cannot make the verification required under subsection (c)(3), shall also pay the late fees required under section 225 of the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs Fee Act (63 P. S. §  1401-225) as more fully set forth in this subsection. Payment of a late fee does not preclude the Board from taking disciplinary action for practicing as a genetic counselor without a currently registered license.

   (1)  A licensee whose license was active at the end of the immediately preceding biennial registration period and who practiced after the license became inactive shall pay a late fee of $5 for each month or part of a month from the beginning of the current biennium until the date the reactivation application is filed.

   (2)  A licensee whose license has been inactive since before the beginning of the current biennium shall pay the biennial registration fee for each biennial registration period during which the licensee practiced and shall pay a late fee of $5 for each month or part of a month from the first date the licensee practiced as a genetic counselor in this Commonwealth after the license became inactive until the date the reactivation application is filed.

§ 18.708. Disciplinary action for applicants and genetic counselors.

 (a)  A genetic counselor, graduate genetic counselor or applicant for a license under this subchapter is subject to refusal of license or disciplinary action under sections 22 and 41 of the act (63 P. S. § §  422.22 and 422.41). Following a final determination subject to the right of notice, hearing and adjudication and the right of appeal therefrom in accordance with 2 Pa.C.S. § §  501—508 and 701—704 (relating to Administrative Agency Law), the Board may refuse licensure or impose any of the corrective actions of section 42 of the act (63 P. S. §  422.42).

 (b)  A genetic counselor, graduate genetic counselor or applicant for licensure is subject to discipline under section 41(6) and (8) of the act for violating the provisions of this chapter and Chapter 16 (relating to State Board of Medicine—general provisions) or for being guilty of immoral or unprofessional conduct. Unprofessional conduct includes the conduct in §  16.61(a) (relating to unprofessional and immoral conduct) and, for purposes of this subchapter, also includes:

   (1)  Engaging in conduct prohibited under §  16.110 (relating to sexual misconduct).

   (2)  Performing an act in a health care profession in a fraudulent, incompetent or negligent manner.

   (3)  Violating a provision of the act or this subchapter setting a standard of professional conduct.

   (4)  Engaging in health care practice beyond the licensee’s authority to practice.

   (5)  Representing oneself to be a physician or other health care practitioner whose profession the genetic counselor is not licensed to practice.

   (6)  Practicing while the licensee’s ability to do so is impaired by alcohol, drugs, physical disability or mental instability.

   (7)  Revealing personally identifiable facts obtained as the result of a practitioner-patient relationship without the prior consent of the patient, except as authorized or required by statute or regulation.

   (8)  Failing to provide appropriate supervision to a genetic counselor student or a graduate genetic counselor practicing under a temporary provisional license. For purposes of this paragraph, appropriate supervision of a genetic counselor student means that the student is under the overall direction of the chair or director of the educational program. For purposes of this paragraph, appropriate supervision of a graduate genetic counselor means that the graduate genetic counselor is under the overall direction of the area supervisor and the supervisor conducts periodic review of the work of the graduate genetic counselor.

   (9)  Practicing outside the scope of practice for a genetic counselor as set forth in section 13.4(c) of the act (63 P. S. §  422.13d(c)).

   (10)  Failing to inform a client that a graduate genetic counselor holds a temporary provisional license and practices under supervision.

 (c)  Immoral conduct includes the conduct in §  16.61(b) and; for purposes of this subchapter, also includes:

   (1)  Misrepresenting or concealing a material fact in obtaining a license issued by the Board or renewal, reactivation or reinstatement thereof.

   (2)  Being convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption in the courts of the Commonwealth, the United States, another state, the District of Columbia, a territory of the United States or another country.

   (3)  Committing an act involving moral turpitude, dishonesty or corruption.

Cross References

   This section cited in 49 Pa. Code §  18.703 (relating to application for genetic counselor license); and 49 Pa. Code §  18.705 (relating to application for temporary provisional genetic counselor license).

§ 18.709. Continuing education for genetic counselors.

 (a)  Credit hour requirements. A genetic counselor shall satisfy the following continuing education credit hour requirements:

   (1)  As a condition for biennial registration, a genetic counselor shall complete at least 30 hours of continuing education applicable to the practice of genetic counseling, including at least 2 hours of approved training in child abuse recognition and reporting in accordance with §  16.108(b) (relating to child abuse recognition and reporting—mandatory training requirement). Credit will not be given for a course in office management or practice building. A genetic counselor is not required to complete continuing education during the biennium in which the genetic counselor was first licensed if licensure occurred within 3 years of completion of the degree.

   (2)  Except when reactivating an inactive license, when the Board has granted a waiver, or when ordered by the Board, continuing education credits may be used to satisfy the continuing education credit hour requirements only for the biennial period in which the credits were earned. An hour of continuing education may not be used to satisfy the requirement of paragraph (1) for more than one biennium.

   (3)  A genetic counselor may request a waiver of the continuing education credit hour requirements because of serious illness, military service or other demonstrated hardship by submitting a request for waiver with the supporting documentation to the Board at least 90 days prior to the end of the biennial registration period for which the waiver is sought. The Board may grant the waiver request in whole or in part and may extend the deadline by which the credit hour requirements shall be met.

   (4)  A genetic counselor may be subject to disciplinary sanction as provided in section 41 of the act (63 P. S. §  422.41), including the suspension or revocation of the license, imposition of a civil penalty or other corrective measure as determined by the Board, if the licensee either submits false information to the Board regarding completion of the continuing education credit hour requirements to complete biennial registration, or fails to complete the continuing education hour requirements and practices as a genetic counselor after the end of the biennial period.

 (b)  Continuing education activities. Credit for continuing education may be earned for activities approved by the ABGC or the NSGC.

 (c)  Documentation of continuing education. Continuing education shall be documented with a certificate of attendance or completion issued by the activity provider. The certificate must include the name of the course provider, the name and date of the course, the name of the licensee, the number of credit hours based on a 50-minute hour, and the category of continuing education, if applicable.

Authority

   The provisions of this §  18.709 amended under section 8 of the Medical Practice Act of 1985 (63 P.S. §  422.8); and 23 Pa.C.S. §  6383(b)(2).

Source

   The provisions of this §  18.709 amended March 25, 2022, effective March 26, 2022, 52 Pa.B. 1899. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (373957) to (373958).

Cross References

   This section cited in 49 Pa. Code §  18.706 (relating to biennial registration of genetic counselor license); and 49 Pa. Code §  18.707 (relating to inactive status of genetic counselor license; reactivation of inactive license).

§ 18.710. Professional liability insurance coverage for genetic counselors.

 (a)  A genetic counselor practicing in this Commonwealth shall maintain a level of professional liability insurance coverage in the minimum amount of $1 million per occurrence or claims made as required under section 13.4(k) of the act (63 P. S. §  422.13d(k)).

 (b)  Proof of professional liability insurance coverage may include:

   (1)  A certificate of insurance or copy of the declaration page from the insurance policy setting forth the effective date, expiration date and dollar amounts of coverage. The policy may be personally purchased liability insurance or professional liability insurance coverage provided by the genetic counselor’s employer.

   (2)  Evidence of a plan of self-insurance approved by the Insurance Commissioner of the Commonwealth under regulations of the Insurance Department in 31 Pa. Code Chapter 243 (relating to medical malpractice and health-related self-insurance plans).

 (c)  A license that was issued in reliance upon a letter from the applicant’s insurance carrier indicating that the applicant will be covered against professional liability effective upon the issuance of the applicant’s license as permitted under section 13.4(k)(2) of the act will become inactive as a matter of law 30 days after the date of issuance of the license if the licensee has not provided proof of professional liability insurance coverage and will remain inactive until the licensee provides proof of insurance coverage.

 (d)  A licensee who does not have professional liability insurance coverage as required under section 13.4(k) of the act may not practice as a genetic counselor in this Commonwealth.

Cross References

   This section cited in 49 Pa. Code §  18.703 (relating to application for genetic counselor license); 49 Pa. Code §  18.704 (relating to application for genetic counselor license by uncertified persons); and 49 Pa. Code §  18.706 (relating to biennial registration of genetic counselor license).



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