Radiology groups ask for oncology payment model delay

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

October 6, 2020 -- A coalition of radiology societies and medical groups have called on the U.S. federal government to delay the implementation of a payment model that would cut pay to radiation oncology practices and hospital outpatient departments.

The societies behind the plea included the American College of Radiology, American College of Radiology Oncology, American Society for Radiation Oncology, and the American Medical Association. The signatories expressed their concerns in an October 2 letter addressed to heads of both the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The groups specifically wrote about the expected cost implications of the Radiation Oncology Alternative Payment Model (RO Model), which is set to go into effect on January 1, 2021. They instead asked CMS and HHS to reduce the discount factors to no more than 3% and to delay the model's implementation date until January 1, 2022 -- or July 1, 2021, at the earliest.

As written now, the RO Model would result in pay cuts of 6% to participating group practices and nearly 5% to hospital outpatient departments, according to the organizations. They claimed these cuts would be particularly burdensome during a pandemic that has had significant financial impact on radiology practices and outpatient departments.

"The last thing radiation oncology participants need right now is a mandated distraction from patient care and additional fears of financial strain," they wrote.


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