News | Radiation Therapy | October 02, 2015

ASTRO Praises Congress for Resistance to Proposed Medicare Radiation Oncology Payment Cuts

One in three Congressional members sign bipartisan letters to CMS expressing concern

ASTRO praises Congress, 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, MPFS, payment cuts, radiation oncology

October 2, 2015 — The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) applauded the members of Congress who signed letters expressing concerns about the recent and newly proposed Medicare cuts to radiation oncology. The 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS), issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) July 8, proposed new cuts to community-based radiation oncology providers that, if finalized, will amount to payment reductions totaling roughly 20 percent to cancer care over the last 6 years. 

In response to the proposal, letters organized by U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) were sent to CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt on Sept. 30, 2015. The bipartisan letters signed by 167 House and 40 Senate members objected to Medicare’s proposal to cut radiation oncology payments to community-based cancer centers by approximately 5-7 percent for 2016—potentially higher based on a practice’s particular patient mix.

A significant portion of the cuts were due to changes in how CMS accounts for the costs of the use of linear accelerators and associated imaging equipment, both of which are vital to the delivery of safe and effective radiation therapy. Data from ASTRO’s July survey of the almost 1,400 community-based radiation therapy centers in the United States indicates that with cuts of five to 10 percent, nearly 30 percent of practices may have to close their doors, particularly those operating in rural communities.

“By delivering top-notch care close to home, community cancer clinics are an essential part of our healthcare system. We must ensure that these facilities have the tools they need to thrive so that families dealing with a cancer diagnosis don’t lose access to this proven model of care delivery. By asking CMS to reevaluate these flawed cuts that could harm patients with a diagnosis of breast or prostate cancer, we can ensure that community cancer clinics will be open for those in need,” said Rep. Tonko. In their letter, Senators Burr and Stabenow state that they “recognize the valuable role community-based radiation therapy plays in meeting patients’ oncology needs,” and that they are “concerned that the proposed cuts could further jeopardize patient access to this treatment option.”

For more information: www.astro.org

Related Content

Cleveland Clinic Researchers Reveal Biomarker for Guiding Prostate Cancer Treatment
News | Prostate Cancer | October 17, 2017
October 17, 2017 — Back-to-back discoveries from Cleveland Clinic demonstrate for the first time how a testosterone-r
IBA Announces First Use of Gating With Active Scanning Proton Therapy in Italy
News | Proton Therapy | October 17, 2017
October 17, 2017 — The Trento Azienda Provinciale per i Servizi Sanitari (APSS) and IBA announced the successful comp
Elekta and Brainlab Offer Streamlined Workflow for Stereotactic Radiotherapy
News | Radiation Therapy | October 16, 2017
Elekta and Brainlab have reconfirmed their alliance for the integrated use of the Elekta Versa HD linear accelerator...
Survey Examines Impact of Bundled Payments Ahead of Expected New CMS Programs
News | Business | October 12, 2017
According to a recent survey, participation in bundled payments has improved the quality of care, and anticipation and...
National Breast Center Founder Names Top Three Innovations in Breast Cancer Treatment
News | Women's Health | October 11, 2017
In 2017, invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in about 252,710 women and 2,470 men in the U.S. and remains the...
CyberKnife System Provides Excellent Long-Term Control of Low-Risk Prostate Cancer
News | Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) | October 10, 2017
Accuray Inc. announced that data from a prospective study of 230 men with low-risk prostate cancer showed 98.4 percent...
News | Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) | October 10, 2017
Elekta announced that members of the Elekta MR-linac Consortium reported data related to the advancement of the company...
Sponsored Content | Videos | Radiation Therapy | October 09, 2017
David Beyer, M.D., chairman of the board for the American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), discusses the key th
Sponsored Content | Videos | Radiation Therapy | October 09, 2017
Benjamin Movsas, M.D., chair of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Scientific Committee, explains ho
News | Brachytherapy Systems | October 05, 2017
External researchers presented new clinical data supporting the use of iCAD’s Xoft Axxent Electronic Brachytherapy (eBx...
Overlay Init