We’re beyond thrilled that Govern Bevin has signed KY SB146 into law. This legislation provides for the licensure of Genetic Counselors in the state of Kentucky.
Genetic counselors are specialized health care providers who are specifically trained to help families affected by genetic conditions or inherited risk factors by explaining inheritance, testing options, and associated risks. As an example, a genetic counselor would provide information to individuals with a family history of cancer, cardiovascular disease, Huntington disease, or Alzheimer disease.
This is crucial to our mission as we strive to prevent colon and rectal cancers, due to inherited syndromes like Lynch. Lynch Syndrome increases the risks of developing colorectal (and other) cancers. People with Lynch must begin their colorectal cancer screenings at a MUCH earlier age – many in their teens – in order to actively prevent cancer.
Genetic counselors are integral members of multidisciplinary care and are often working with physicians and other health care professionals (including other licensed professionals) to provide specialized expertise and insights to help optimize patient care. Genetic testing and the counselors who manage it are crucial pieces of the prevention puzzle, enabling individuals to make timely health decisions and know their complete risk profile.
Until the passage of SB146, Kentucky did not have a law providing for the licensure of genetic counselors. Unfortunately, this meant that many trained individuals were taking their talents and passion to other states, where such programs existed.
But not anymore!
Kentucky will now join the twenty-one states (including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Tennessee and Virginia) to have licensure in place. Twenty additional states currently have bills introduced or are getting bills drafted.
With greater growth and availability of genetic counseling services, we can continue to actively prevent colon and rectal cancers in a much more timely fashion. This legislation empowers the citizens of this state as well – not just genetic counselors – to be able to learn their risk factors for cancer and then seek the appropriate preventative care.
We were proud to support this legislation and are thrilled to see it pass!