Feature | December 11, 2013

No Cut to Radiation Therapy in Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule, Future Uncertainty Persists

Radiation therapy leaders call for payment reform to improve cancer care

December 11, 2013 — The Radiation Therapy Alliance (RTA), a nonprofit organization representing 227 community-based radiation therapy centers, commended the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for withdrawing the proposal to cap certain freestanding radiation oncology reimbursements at the OPD/ASC rates in the CY 2014 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule, issued Nov. 27. While the Proposed Rule would have reduced payments by nearly 8 percent, the final rule is close to no change (relative to 2013) for freestanding radiation oncology providers.
 
While radiation therapy leaders commended CMS's decision to remove the proposed cap from the Final Rule, they cautioned policymakers that the continued uncertainty in Medicare radiation therapy payments threatens the delivery of freestanding radiation oncology services for American seniors. The RTA called on Congress to advance comprehensive Medicare payment reforms for freestanding radiation services.
 
Over the last decade, payments to freestanding radiation therapy centers have declined by 18 percent. Since 2004, freestanding radiation therapy centers have experienced disproportionate cuts compared to hospital-based radiation therapy, which has experienced a net increase in reimbursement during the same period.
 
"While we appreciate the final outcome in the Physician Fee Schedule, the rulemaking process once again reminds us of the need to provide stability and security to the millions of Americans receiving and providing cancer care," said Christopher Rose, M.D., radiation oncologist, co-founder, Vantage Oncology, and chair of the Radiation Therapy Alliance Policy Committee. "Considering the history of cuts and uncertainty our cancer care community has endured, it is time for lawmakers to correct unresolved payment issues and consider systematic reforms that protect patients and ensure payment stability for the radiation oncology provider community — so that we can offer the highest quality care to patients."
 
Radiation oncology leaders are further urging Congress to establish an episode-based bundled payment for freestanding radiation oncology to promote the highest quality of care by improving incentives for physicians, collecting data to improve protocols and ensuring payment stability. A bundled payment model will generate savings for taxpayers, increase predictability for providers and produce better clinical outcomes for patients over time.
 
"We have an opportunity to replace Medicare's unstable cancer delivery system with one that promotes quality care, benefits patients and reduces Medicare spending," said Rose. "As Congress works to avoid a drastic cut to the Sustainable Growth Rate and reform that payment structure, we hope they will adopt an episode-based bundled payment system for freestanding radiation therapy."
 
For more information: www.radiationtherapyalliance.com

Related Content

RayStation Selected for New Carbon Ion Therapy Center in Japan
News | Treatment Planning | January 18, 2018
January 18, 2018 – RayStation has been chosen as the treatment planning system for a new carbon-ion therapy facility
Raysearch Receives First Order for the Raycare Oncology Information System
News | Oncology Information Management Systems (OIMS) | January 18, 2018
January 18, 2018 – Anderson Regional Cancer Center (ARCC) in Meridian, Mississippi, has placed the first order for...
Mevion Receives 510(k) Clearance for Hyperscan Pencil Beam Scanning Proton Therapy
Technology | Proton Therapy | January 04, 2018
Mevion Medical Systems has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance for the Mevion S250i...
Study Compares Radiosurgery and Whole-Brain Radiation in Lung Cancer Patients With Multiple Brain Metastases
News | Radiation Therapy | January 03, 2018
Although targeted therapies have produced dramatic advances in the ability to control some types of advanced lung...
MEDraysintell Downgrades Proton Therapy Market Projection for 2030
News | Proton Therapy | January 02, 2018
MEDraysintell recently downgraded its projection for proton therapy rooms expected to be operational in 2030 from 1,200...
California US Oncology Network Centers Adopt Xoft Electronic Brachytherapy System for Early-Stage Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
News | Brachytherapy Systems | January 02, 2018
iCAD Inc. announced that its Xoft Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy (eBx) System is now available at two California-based...
Blue Phantom System Used for Acceptance of First European Varian Halcyon Machine
News | Radiation Therapy | January 02, 2018
IBA (Ion Beam Applications S.A.) announced in November the acceptance and beam model validation of the first Varian...
Study Finds Link Between Breast Cancer Treatments and Cellular Aging Markers
News | Women's Health | January 02, 2018
January 2, 2018 — A new study found women who had received chemotherapy and/or...
ACR Appropriateness Criteria Adds and Revises Topics for December 2017
News | Clinical Decision Support | December 29, 2017
December 29, 2017 — Radiologists can enhance the quality and effectiveness of care with the newest release of the ACR
FDA Clears GammaPod Stereotactic Radiotherapy System for Breast Cancer Treatment
Technology | Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) | December 22, 2017
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared the new GammaPod noninvasive stereotactic radiotherapy system...
Overlay Init