News | Radiation Therapy | January 04, 2016

ASTRO Applauds Congress for Freezing Freestanding Radiation Oncology Center Payment Rates

Passage of S.2425 maintains 2017-2018 rates at levels set under 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

January 4, 2016 – The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) applauded Congress for its passage of S. 2425 to freeze radiation oncology freestanding center payment rates for 2017-2018 at the levels set under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule for 2016. ASTRO voiced its appreciation for bipartisan, bicameral leadership in Congress for their continued efforts to ensure rates for radiation oncology services provide the stability necessary to avoid any disruptions in critical cancer care. The society said the passage of S.2425 reinforced Congress’ acknowledgement that continued cuts to community-based radiation therapy centers could disrupt critical services that cancer patients rely upon.

Radiation oncology reimbursement rates have sustained significant cuts in recent years, which has resulted in cumulative payment reductions totaling approximately 20 percent for freestanding cancer centers. Passage of this legislation will help create a more stable environment during which ASTRO and other radiation oncology stakeholders can continue to work with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on radiation treatment delivery coding and valuation issues, as well as the development of radiation oncology-specific alternative payment models.

Bruce D. Minsky, M.D., FASTRO and ASTRO chair, said, “ASTRO thanks radiation oncology’s champions in Congress for ensuring patient access to community-based cancer care nationwide. ASTRO looks forward to continuing to work with Congress and CMS to protect cancer patient access to care, and we appreciate the stability this legislation provides for freestanding cancer treatment centers.”

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