ASTRO urges discussion with Congress about staff shortages

2020 07 01 22 14 2802 Washington Dc Capitol 400

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) on May 23 held an Advocacy Day in Washington, DC, and urged its members to discuss with congressional representatives how staffing shortages affect patient care in cancer clinics.

The event is an effort for radiation oncologists to ask Congress to enforce policies that would mitigate staffing shortages and increase access and equity in cancer care.

The society has also released survey results which found that nine out of 10 radiation oncologists report that their practices suffer from clinical staff shortages and that around half say these have led to treatment delays and patient anxiety. The survey also showed that practice operating costs are up 23% on average compared with before the COVID-19 pandemic, which 77% of respondents attributed to staffing deficiencies.

ASTRO members meeting with congressional leaders are focusing on three legislative priorities: Supporting Stability, Access, Value and Equity (S.A.V.E.) in Medicare payment policies; having patients and radiation oncologists make care decisions rather than insurance companies; and increasing federal investments in cancer research, the society said.

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