ASTRO members exhort Congress to block proposed Medicare cuts

2019 09 16 03 57 7061 Astro 2019 400

Members of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) met with congressional leaders to urge them to block radiation oncology facility payment cuts in the proposed 2022 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.

Their efforts were part of the society's virtual Advocacy Day on July 22. More than 100 radiation oncologists and medical physicists from 32 states participated, according to ASTRO.

"These excessive reductions will jeopardize access to lifesaving radiation therapy services for Medicare beneficiaries at a time when the U.S. healthcare system needs 'all doors open' to treat people diagnosed with cancer," ASTRO said in a statement.

ASTRO members are asking Congress to do the following:

  • Defend equitable access to radiation therapy by reforming the Radiation Oncology Model (RO Model) and stabilizing Medicare payment rates
  • Reduce restrictive prior authorization burdens
  • Increase federal investment in cancer research

"By proposing to cut high-value radiation treatments by as much as 22% and proceeding with more than $160 million in reductions under the RO Model, [the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services] is jeopardizing the ability of the nation's radiation therapy professionals to continue to provide essential care for their patients now and in the future," said Dr. Thomas Eichler, ASTRO board chair, in the society's statement.

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