ASTRO asks CMS to halt planned payment cuts

By staff writers

September 10, 2012 -- A letter to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is the American Society for Radiation Oncology's (ASTRO) latest push in its campaign to stop proposed payment cuts of nearly $300 million scheduled to begin next near.

CMS' changes for calendar year 2013 would revise several reimbursement policies and service rates under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule beginning January 1.

The largest cuts would hit intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) with a 40% cut and stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) with a 28% cut, due to shorter assumed treatment times, ASTRO said.

The September 4 letter called for CMS to base its policy decisions on sound data and analytical methodology to determine reimbursement rates, ASTRO said. A July survey of almost 600 ASTRO members said the proposed cuts may limit access for Medicare patients, delay care, result in older equipment being used, and lead to staff layoffs.

To date, more than 30 members of Congress from both major parties have joined the letter-writing campaign to halt the payment reductions, ASTRO said.

Copyright © 2012

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