November 3, 2021 — The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) issued the following statement today from Laura Dawson, MD, FASTRO, Chair of the ASTRO Board of Directors, in response to the 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) final rules announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):
"On behalf of ASTRO’s 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals who specialize in treating cancer patients with radiation therapy, we are deeply disappointed that the Biden administration failed to reverse excessive cuts in the Medicare fee schedules that will strip significant resources from radiation oncology and undermine the administration's own goals to bring an end to cancer.
These cuts will endanger patient access to cancer care. Treatment facilities may be forced to cut services or close, which will exacerbate health disparities. Moreover, the planned January 1, 2022, start date for the hundreds of radiation oncology facilities required to participate in the Radiation Oncology Model (RO Model) is extremely challenging. While we appreciate some new flexibilities to account for the public health emergency, payment cuts are the last thing practices need as they continue to weather the pandemic and care for growing numbers of patients with advanced-stage cancers due to pandemic-related cancer screening delays. We will continue to engage with CMS on ways to improve quality without forcing onerous reporting requirements.
ASTRO appreciates the more-than 100 members of Congress who wrote CMS opposing these cuts, and we intend to work with these radiation oncology Congressional champions on a legislative solution to address the Medicare cuts before the year ends. We will continue our longstanding push toward value-based care in radiation oncology that will improve outcomes for people with cancer."
ASTRO's health policy experts are currently completing an in-depth analysis of the model.
For more information: www.astro.org