ASTRO decries rad therapy cuts in 'fiscal cliff' bill
Article Thumbnail ImageJanuary 3, 2013 -- The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has issued a statement opposing Medicare payment cuts to cobalt-60 radiation therapy treatments in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the legislation passed this week that resolved the "fiscal cliff" emergency.

To get access to this article and all of the content on AuntMinnie.com, create a free account or sign-in now.

Member Sign In:
MemberID or E-mail Address:  
Do you have a AuntMinnie.com password?
No, I want a free membership.
Yes, I have a password:  


ATRA includes cuts of $300 million to Medicare payments for cobalt-60 treatments over the next 10 years, in addition to $800 million in cuts for advanced diagnostic imaging services. The cuts were made to help pay for a "fix" to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, which would have implemented a 27% payment cut to all physicians in Medicare, but which was postponed for a year with the ATRA legislation.

ASTRO Chairman Dr. Michael L. Steinberg said the reduction in cobalt-60 outpatient payments reduces reimbursement for the procedure to the level of another treatment modality that uses a linear accelerator to deliver radiosurgery. Cobalt-60 relies on highly skilled professionals and resource-intensive materials and equipment, Steinberg said, and the ATRA legislation gives radiation oncology facilities less than three months to prepare.