November 11, 2009 - The American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT) said it was successful, in collaboration with other medical imaging and radiation therapy organizations, in avoiding a proposed 19 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement for radiation oncology services in 2010.
The 2010 Physician Fee Schedule final rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Oct. 30, 2009, reduced Medicare payments for radiation oncology by 5 percent reduction over the next four years, effective Jan.1, 2010 with a 1 percent reduction.
In its comments to CMS opposing the proposed 19 percent cut, ASRT stated, “For freestanding and community-based radiation oncology centers that provide 40 percent of cancer treatments for Medicare patients, reductions of this magnitude will prove financially unsustainable; for others, layoffs of clinical and administrative staff and equipment maintenance and upgrades likely will be delayed or cancelled. We believe that our patients deserve better.”
While discussions on an increase of the equipment utilization assumption rate for diagnostic imaging are ongoing as part of healthcare reform, the recent CMS rule indicated that radiation oncology equipment will not be affected, averting a reduction in practice expense calculations for radiation oncology procedures.
“This ruling by CMS preserves the reimbursement for radiation oncology services and maintains access to needed radiation therapy services for patients undergoing treatment by keeping doors of cancer treatment facilities open and maintaining staffing levels,” said ASRT President Diane Mayo, R.T.(R)(CT).
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