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ASTRO submits comments to CMS - Stop the draconian cuts that will harm cancer patient care

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | September 10, 2021 Rad Oncology

ASTRO recommends that radiation therapy cancer treatments should be held harmless from payment cuts due to the fee schedule's clinical labor pricing update. We also are asking that the RO Model's discount factors be reduced to 3% to safeguard access to care for patients at the 950 hospitals and community-based clinics required to participate in the model, while ensuring Medicare achieves a reasonable level of savings."

As the radiation oncology community seeks resources and support to improve access and quality for rural and underserved populations, these polices represent a massive step backwards. It is reckless for CMS to propose such a severe decline in reimbursement, particularly during a public health emergency. Medicare should provide stable and predictable reimbursement for care rendered to its beneficiaries.”

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In July, ASTRO issued a statement calling on President Biden and Congress to intervene on the drastic cuts. The statement emphasized that "ASTRO remains committed to value-based care and to constructively engaging with CMS on reasonable ways to improve these policies" but that "massive cuts such as those proposed by CMS will set us back, not move us forward." If CMS does not reverse course, ASTRO will ask Congress to protect patient access to care via legislation this year.

Congress has long supported radiation oncology's value-based payment goals, passing bipartisan legislation several times to freeze Medicare payments and allow for a smooth transition away from fee-for-service. Bipartisan Members of Congress have written the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on multiple occasions to object to these unnecessary radiation therapy payment cuts under the Medicare physician fee schedule and the proposed Radiation Oncology Alternative Payment Model (RO Model).

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies.

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