Friday, April 15, 2011

NSGC Meets with United Healthcare

One of NSGC’s strategic initiatives is to demonstrate to payers the cost-effectiveness and improved patient outcomes realized by the involvement of genetic counselors in patient care. In an effort to further this initiative, NSGC representatives met with Dr. Lee Newcomer, Senior Vice President of Oncology for United Healthcare (UHC), on Monday, April 11th. In addition to oncology, Dr. Newcomer also oversees women’s health and genetics for UHC. The purpose of this meeting was to inform UHC about the role genetic counselors can play in helping payers develop appropriate policies around coverage and utilization of services, discuss payer credentialing of genetic counselors, and explore general ideas on areas for research collaboration.

We presented data demonstrating that genetic counselors improve the quality of patient care, stabilize and reduce payer costs, and improve both patient and provider satisfaction. Dr. Newcomer and his team are extremely knowledgeable about the current environment in genetic medicine and it was clear that they recognize genetic counselors as preferred providers of genetic counseling. He expressed a keen awareness of the expanding need for genetic counselor services as UHC evolves their coverage policies over the next two years. . Dr. Newcomer also recognizes genetic counselors’ unique expertise as a valuable resource in determining clinical validity and utility of testing and in patient and provider education.

We will be working with UHC in the future to provide them with information that may help their decision making. We are encouraged by this productive meeting with the UHC team. Stay tuned as we report back on our continued outreach to regional and national payers!