Is Radiation Oncology Being Undervalued by CMS in the Proposed Reimbursement Cuts?
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has expressed disappointment with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) proposed 2% cut to radiation therapy reimbursement in the Medicare physician fee schedule for 2024. This comes on top of a 20% reduction over the past decade, leading to concerns over the devaluation of radiation oncology and potential impact on patient access to treatment, especially in rural areas.
- Proposed 2% cut to radiation therapy in the Medicare physician fee schedule for 2024 by CMS.
- ASTRO claims a more than 20% reduction in reimbursement over the past 10 years.
- Specific cuts include 23% for prostate, 22% for lung, and 13% for breast cancer over the past five years.
- CMS states an attempt to improve accuracy of resource-based inputs, with the redistribution of more payment for primary care.
- Concerns raised about closures of smaller oncology centers and potential increased travel times for patients.
- Legislation H.R.3674 urged by ASTRO and Dr. Rewari to support updates without impacting cancer care funding.
- Some view that radiation therapy, being a long-standing treatment, is undervalued in reimbursement considerations.
- There is concern that cumulative cuts may hamper investment in advanced technology.
- Collaboration between radiologists and radiation oncologists is emphasized, with potential effects on overall patient outcomes.
- The proposed cuts by CMS have ignited concern and opposition within the radiation oncology community. The reductions could significantly impact patient access, especially in rural areas, and potentially undermine investment in the field. The broader implication on cancer care and the call for alternative approaches to funding need to be carefully considered.
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