Virginia Regulatory Town Hall

Proposed Text


Implementation of 2022 Periodic Review for Chapter 170
Stage: Fast-Track
18VAC85-170-10 Definitions

A. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the meanings ascribed to them in § 54.1-2900 of the Code of Virginia:


"Genetic counselor"

"Practice of genetic counseling"

B. The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"ABGC" means the American Board of Genetic Counseling.

"ABMG" means the American Board of Medical Genetics.

"Active practice" means a minimum of 160 hours of professional practice as a genetic counselor within the 24-month period immediately preceding application for reinstatement or reactivation of licensure. The active practice of genetic counseling may include supervisory, administrative, educational, or consultative activities or responsibilities for the delivery of such services.

"Conscience clause" means the provision of § 54.1-2957.21 of the Code of Virginia.

"NSGC" means the National Society of Genetic Counselors.

18VAC85-170-20 Public participation.  (Repealed.)

A separate board regulation, Public Participation Guidelines (18VAC85-11), provides for involvement of the public in the development of all regulations of the Virginia Board of Medicine.

18VAC85-170-100 Continuing education requirements

A. In order to renew an active license biennially, a licensee shall complete the Continued Competency Activity and Assessment Form that is provided by the board indicating completion of at least 50 contact hours of continuing learning activities as follows:

1. A minimum of 30 of the 50 hours shall be in Category 1 activities approved by the ABGC, the ABMG, or the NSGC and may include in-service training, self-study courses, continuing education courses, or professional workshops.

2. No more than 20 of the 50 hours may be Category 2 activities or professional activity credits, which may include consultation with another counselor or a physician, independent reading or research, authorship, clinical supervision, volunteer leadership in the profession, preparation for a presentation, or other such experiences that promote continued learning.

B. A licensee shall be exempt from the continuing education requirements for the first biennial renewal following the date of initial licensure in Virginia.

C. The licensee shall retain in his records the completed form with all supporting documentation for a period of four years following the renewal of an active license.

D. The board shall periodically conduct a random audit of its active licensees to determine compliance. The licensees selected for the audit shall provide all supporting documentation within 30 days of receiving notification of the audit.

E. Failure to comply with these requirements may subject the licensee to disciplinary action by the board.

F. E. The board may grant an extension of the deadline for continuing competency requirements, for up to one year, for good cause shown upon a written request from the licensee prior to the renewal date.

G. F. The board may grant an exemption for all or part of the requirements for circumstances beyond the control of the licensee, such as temporary disability, mandatory military service, or officially declared disasters.

18VAC85-170-110 General responsibility

A genetic counselor shall engage in the practice of genetic counseling, as defined in § 54.1-2900 of the Code of Virginia. The practice of genetic counseling may include supervisory, administrative, educational, or consultative activities or responsibilities for the delivery of such services.

18VAC85-170-140 Patient records

A. Practitioners shall comply with the provisions of § 32.1-127.1:03 of the Code of Virginia related to the confidentiality and disclosure of patient records.

B. Practitioners shall provide patient records to another practitioner or to the patient or his personal representative in a timely manner in accordance with provisions of § 32.1-127.1:03 of the Code of Virginia.

C. Practitioners shall properly manage and keep timely, accurate, legible, and complete patient records.

D. Practitioners who are employed by a health care institution or other entity in which the individual practitioner does not own or maintain his own records shall maintain patient records in accordance with the policies and procedures of the employing entity.

E. Practitioners who are self-employed or employed by an entity in which the individual practitioner owns and is responsible for patient records shall:

1. Maintain a patient record for a minimum of six years following the last patient encounter with the following exceptions:

a. Records of a minor child shall be maintained until the child reaches the age of 18 years or becomes emancipated, with a minimum time for record retention of six years from the last patient encounter regardless of the age of the child;

b. Records that have previously been transferred to another practitioner or health care provider or provided to the patient or his personal representative; or

c. Records that are required by contractual obligation or federal law may need to be maintained for a longer period of time.

2. Post information or in some manner inform all patients concerning the timeframe for record retention and destruction. Patient records shall only be destroyed in a manner that protects patient confidentiality, such as by incineration or shredding.

3. When closing, selling, or relocating his practice, meet the requirements of § 54.1-2405 of the Code of Virginia for giving notice that copies of records can be sent to any like-regulated provider of the patient's choice or provided to the patient.

18VAC85-170-150 Practitioner-patient communication; termination of relationship

A. Communication with patients.

1. Except as provided in § 32.1-127.1:03 F of the Code of Virginia, a practitioner shall accurately present information to a patient or his legally authorized representative in understandable terms and encourage participation in decisions regarding the patient's care.

2. A practitioner shall not deliberately withhold pertinent findings or information or make a false or misleading statement regarding the practitioner's skill or the efficacy or value of a medication, treatment, or procedure provided or directed by the practitioner in the treatment of any disease or condition.

3. When a genetic procedure or diagnostic test is recommended, documented informed consent shall be obtained from the patient in accordance with the policies of the health care entity and consistent with the standard of care. Practitioners shall inform patients of the risks, benefits, and alternatives of the recommended procedure that a reasonably prudent practitioner practicing genetic counseling in Virginia would tell a patient.

a. In the instance of a minor or a patient who is incapable of making an informed decision on his own behalf or is incapable of communicating such a decision due to a physical or mental disorder, the legally authorized person available to give consent shall be informed and the consent documented.

b. An exception to the requirement for consent prior to performance of a genetic procedure may be made in an emergency situation when a delay in obtaining consent would likely result in imminent harm to the patient.

c. For the purposes of this provision, "genetic procedure" means any diagnostic or therapeutic procedure performed on a patient that is not part of routine, general care and for which the usual practice within the health care entity is to document specific informed consent from the patient or surrogate decisionmaker prior to proceeding.

4. Practitioners shall adhere to requirements of § 32.1-162.18 of the Code of Virginia for obtaining informed consent from patients prior to involving them as subjects in human research with the exception of retrospective chart reviews.

B. Termination of the practitioner-patient relationship.

1. The practitioner or the patient may terminate the relationship. In either case, the practitioner shall make the patient record available, except in situations where denial of access is allowed by law.

2. A practitioner shall not terminate the relationship or make his services unavailable without documented notice to the patient that allows for a reasonable time to obtain the services of another practitioner.

18VAC85-170-160 Practitioner responsibility

A. A practitioner shall not:

1. Perform procedures or techniques that are outside the scope of his practice or for which he is not trained and individually competent;

2. Knowingly allow subordinates to jeopardize patient safety or provide patient care outside of the subordinate's scope of practice or area of responsibility. Practitioners shall delegate patient care only to subordinates who are properly trained and supervised;

3. 2. Engage in an egregious pattern of disruptive behavior or interaction in a health care setting that interferes with patient care or could reasonably be expected to adversely impact the quality of care rendered to a patient; or

4. 3. Exploit the practitioner-patient relationship for personal gain.

B. Advocating for patient safety or improvement in patient care within a health care entity shall not constitute disruptive behavior provided the practitioner does not engage in behavior prohibited in subdivision A 3 2 of this section.

18VAC85-170-170 Solicitation or remuneration in exchange for referral.  (Repealed.)

A practitioner shall not knowingly and willfully solicit or receive any remuneration, directly or indirectly, in return for referring an individual to a facility as defined in § 37.2-100 of the Code of Virginia or hospital as defined in § 32.1-123 of the Code of Virginia.

"Remuneration" means compensation, received in cash or in kind, but shall not include any payments, business arrangements, or payment practices allowed by 42 USC § 1320a-7b(b), as amended, or any regulations promulgated thereto.