December 20, 2022 — The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) issued the following statement from ASTRO Board of Directors Chair Geraldine Jacobson, MD, MBA, MPH, FASTRO, in response to today’s release of the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus Appropriations bill.
"On behalf of ASTRO’s 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other healthcare professionals who specialize in treating cancer patients with radiation therapy, ASTRO is disappointed that Congress failed to stop the full Medicare physician payment cuts for 2023, demonstrating that the Medicare physician payment system is broken. Radiation oncology has faced among the most significant cuts of any medical specialty, leaving community-based clinics at the breaking point. We urge the new Congress to immediately begin payment reform discussions, including working with ASTRO and the radiation oncology community to create a new, sustainable payment approach for radiation therapy services.
The omnibus package leaves all physicians with a 2% reduction in the Medicare physician payment conversion factor for 2023, and radiation oncology with an additional 1% decrease due to clinical labor price changes, at a time when patients are returning to clinics and facing more complex cancer care due to delays caused by the pandemic. Cancer clinics must also contend with a wide range of increasing overhead and staffing costs when determining their ability to provide care to Medicare beneficiaries. Payment relief in the omnibus bill is insufficient and could endanger some clinics’ ability to stay open and provide needed care to people with cancer.”
For more information: www.astro.org