ASTRO balks at proposed cuts

September 4, 2009

Radiologists are not the only ones feeling the pinch from Medicare. Their colleagues on the radiation oncology side of the fence stand to lose out as well, if proposed Medicare rules go through – and the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is kicking up some dust about it.

ASTRO balks at proposed cuts
Radiologists are not the only ones feeling the pinch from Medicare.  Their colleagues on the radiation oncology side of the fence stand to lose out as well, if proposed Medicare rules go through – and the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is kicking up some dust about it. This week ASTRO officially requested the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) not to adopt proposed changes to the Medicare policies and payment rates for physician services, changes that it says could drastically cut reimbursements for radiation therapy services. If a proposed rule in the Medicare physician fee schedule takes effect, the utilization rate for radiation therapy equipment would jump to 90% from the current level of 50%, drastically cutting reimbursement for services, according to ASTRO. The rule does not single out radiation oncology, but rather applies to any medical equipment costing more than $1 million. Organized radiology has posed similar objections to the proposed rule change.