(a) The Genetic Counselor Advisory Council (Council) consists of 5 voting members, and 1 ex officio member. The 5 voting members shall consist of 1 physician member of the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline and 4 Council members licensed and trained as genetic counselors who have been primarily employed in the practice of genetic counseling in this State for at least 3 years immediately prior to appointment. The ex officio member shall be a Delaware physician who has expertise in genetic counseling. The Council may elect officers as necessary.
Terms Used In Delaware Code Title 24 Sec. 1799I
- Board: shall mean the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline. See Delaware Code Title 24 Sec. 1799H
- Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
- Continuance: Putting off of a hearing ot trial until a later time.
- Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
- Ex officio: Literally, by virtue of one's office.
- Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
- Genetic counselor: means an individual who engages in the competent practice of genetic counseling. See Delaware Code Title 24 Sec. 1799H
- License: shall mean any document which indicates that a person is currently licensed by the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline to practice genetic counseling. See Delaware Code Title 24 Sec. 1799H
- practice of genetic counseling: shall include any or all of the following activities:
- Probation: A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
- Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
- State: means the State of Delaware; and when applied to different parts of the United States, it includes the District of Columbia and the several territories and possessions of the United States. See Delaware Code Title 6 Sec. 4307
- Year: means a calendar year, and is equivalent to the words "year of our Lord. See Delaware Code Title 6 Sec. 4307
(b) Each Council member is appointed by the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline for a term of 3 years, and may succeed himself or herself for 1 additional 3-year term. A person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Council is entitled to hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term of the former member. Each term of office expires on the date specified in the appointment; however, a Council member whose term of office has expired remains eligible to participate in Council proceedings until replaced by the Board. A person who has never served on the Council may be appointed to the Council for 2 consecutive terms, but the person is thereafter ineligible for appointment to the Council except as hereinafter provided. A person who has been twice appointed to the Council or who has served on the Council for 6 years within any 9-year period may not again be appointed to the Council until an interim period of at least 1 year has expired since the person last served. The members of the Council are to be compensated at an appropriate and reasonable level as determined by the Division of Professional Regulation and may be reimbursed for meeting-related travel expenses at the State’s current approved rate. A member serving on the Council may not be an elected officer or a member of the board of directors of any professional association of genetic counselors.
(c) The Council shall promulgate rules and regulations governing the practice of genetic counseling, after public hearing and subject to the approval of the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline. The Board must approve or reject proposed rules or regulations submitted to it by the Council within 60 days. If the Board fails to approve or reject the proposed rules or regulations within 60 days, the proposed rules or regulations are deemed to be approved by the Board.
(d) The Council shall meet quarterly, and at such other times as license applications are pending and evaluate the credentials of all persons applying for a license as a licensed genetic counselor in this State, in order to determine whether such persons meet the qualifications for licensing set forth in this chapter. The Council shall present to the Board the names of individuals qualified to be licensed and shall recommend disciplinary action against licensees as necessary, and shall suggest changes in operations or regulations. The Board shall approve or reject these recommendations within a reasonable time period.
(e) License suspension, revocation, or nonrenewal. —
(1) The Council, after appropriate notice and hearing, may recommend to the Board of Medical Licensure and Discipline that the Board revoke, suspend, or refuse to issue a license, or place the licensee on probation, or otherwise discipline a licensee found guilty of unprofessional conduct. Unprofessional conduct includes, but is not limited to, fraud, deceit, incompetence, negligence, dishonesty, or other behavior in the licensee’s professional activity which is likely to endanger the public health, safety, or welfare. The Council may recommend and Board may take necessary action against a genetic counselor who is unable to render services with reasonable skill or safety to patients because of mental illness or mental incompetence, physical illness, or the excessive use of drugs including alcohol. Disciplinary action or other action taken against a genetic counselor must be accordance with the procedures for disciplinary and other actions against physicians, including appeals as set forth in subchapter IV of this chapter except that a hearing panel for a complaint against a genetic counselor consists of 3 members; 1 of the 3 shall be a physician member of the Board; 2 of the 3 shall be unbiased members of the Council; and if no conflict exists, 1 of the 2 Council members shall be the Chair of the Council. The Chair of the hearing panel shall be 1 of the Council panel members.
(2)a. If the Board or the Council receives a formal or informal complaint concerning the activity of a genetic counselor and the Board or Council members reasonably believe that the activity presents a clear and immediate danger to the public health, the Council may issue an order temporarily suspending the genetic counselor’s license to practice, pending a hearing upon the written order of the Secretary of State or the Secretary’s designee, with the concurrence of the Council Chair or the Chair’s designee. An order temporarily suspending a license to practice may not be issued by the Board, unless the genetic counselor or the genetic counselor’s attorney received at least 24 hours’ written or oral notice prior to the temporary suspension so that the genetic counselor or the genetic counselor’s attorney can be heard in opposition to the proposed suspension. An order of temporary suspension pending a hearing may remain in effect for no longer than 60 days from the date of the issuance of the order unless the temporarily suspended genetic counselor requests a continuance of the hearing date. If the genetic counselor requests a continuance, the order of temporary suspension remains in effect until the hearing panel convenes and a decision is rendered.
b. A genetic counselor whose license to practice has been temporarily suspended pursuant to this section must be notified of the temporary suspension immediately and in writing. Notification consists of a copy of the complaint and the order of temporary suspension pending a hearing personally served upon the genetic counselor or sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the genetic counselor’s last known address.
c. A genetic counselor whose license to practice has been temporarily suspended pursuant to this section may request an expedited hearing. The Council shall schedule the hearing on an expedited basis, provided that the Council receives the request within 5 calendar days from the date on which the genetic counselor received notification of the decision of the Board, to temporarily suspend the genetic counselor’s license to practice.
d. As soon as possible after the issuance of an order temporarily suspending a genetic counselor’s license to practice pending a hearing, the Council Chair shall appoint a 3-member hearing panel consisting of 3 members; 1 of the 3 shall be a physician member of the Board; 2 of the 3 shall be unbiased members of the Council; and if no conflict exists, 1 of the 2 Council members shall be the Chair of the Council. The Chair of the hearing panel shall be 1 of the Council panel members. After notice to the genetic counselor pursuant to paragraph (e)(2)b. of this section, the hearing panel shall convene within 60 days of the date of issuance of the order of temporary suspension to consider the evidence regarding the matters alleged in the complaint. If a genetic counselor requests in a timely manner an expedited hearing, the hearing panel shall convene within 15 days of the receipt of the request by the Council. The 3-member panel shall proceed to a hearing and shall render a decision within 30 days of the hearing.
e. In addition to making findings of fact, the hearing panel shall also determine whether the facts found by it constitute a clear and immediate danger to public health. If the hearing panel determines that the facts found constitute a clear and immediate danger to public health, the order of temporary suspension must remain in effect until the Board deliberates and reaches conclusions of law based upon the findings of fact made by the hearing panel. An order of temporary suspension may not remain in effect for longer than 60 days from the date of the decision rendered by the hearing panel unless the suspended genetic counselor requests an extension of the order pending a final decision of the Board. Upon the final decision of the Board, an order of temporary suspension is vacated as a matter of law and is replaced by the disciplinary action, if any, ordered by the Board.
(f) The Council shall refer all complaints from practitioners and from the public to the Board.
(g) The Genetic Counselor Advisory Council, by the affirmative vote of 3 of its members and with the approval of the Board within 30 days of the vote, may waive the quarterly meeting requirements of this title.