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Targeting Cancer Care
News and Media Center

ASTRO plans to launch practice accreditation program mid-2013
As many of you know, ASTRO has been working with ACR to develop a joint practice accreditation program. Unfortunately, our organizations have been unable to reach agreement on some major components of a partnership. After careful consideration, ASTRO’s Board of Directors has decided not to continue in a joint program with the ACR and is no longer affiliated with that program. We owe a debt of gratitude to the volunteers who have worked so hard over the years on this program.

We apologize for this unexpected course of events and any confusion it causes.  For those facilities currently scheduled to undergo a survey, please contact the ACR if you have questions about your pending survey.

While transitions are often difficult, they also create opportunities. We are excited about the opportunity to launch our own practice accreditation program. This will allow ASTRO to fully integrate all its quality improvement programs and provide better value for ASTRO members. One of the five goals in ASTRO’s strategic plan is: ASTRO will shape the framework for the delivery of safe, high-quality, high-value health care to all patients by the Radiation Oncology team. 

ASTRO staff and volunteers will be working over the course of the coming months to develop a state-of-the-art practice accreditation program that focuses on quality improvement. It will be able to link our efforts on Maintenance of Certification and individual physician practice improvement, inform our clinical practice statements and educational programming and our broader quality and safety agenda. 

ASTRO prides itself on developing resources to meet the varied needs of our members. Our new program will be another way of meeting your needs.  We will keep you informed on our progress, our launch date and when we will be accepting applications for accreditation.

Congressional leaders urge CMS to stop radiation oncology cuts
Late last week, the House and Senate sent separate bipartisan letters to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius protesting CMS's proposal to cut radiation oncology payments by 15 percent overall and 19 percent to community-based cancer centers. ASTRO led an aggressive effort to secure support for these letters. The final House letter, led by Reps. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), was signed by 104 members of the House of Representatives. The final Senate letter, led by Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.), was signed by 28 senators. CMS is expected to issue their final rule on Medicare payments later this fall. View more information and see if your members signed the letters.

Program now final for Cancer Imaging and Radiation Therapy Symposium
The program agenda has been finalized for the Cancer Imaging and Radiation Therapy Symposium: A Multidisciplinary Approach, to be held February 8-9, 2013, at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in the Walt Disney World Resort. The first Keynote features David Piwnica-Worms, MD, PhD, of the Washington University School of Medicine, speaking on “Imaging Biomarker and Predictors for Response.” Register now for this symposium.

Scientific Session A: Clinical Trials and Innovation in Care
Scientific Session A at the ASTRO Annual Meeting features a number of abstracts focused on clinical trials and innovations in patient care. Abstracts include examination of trials on liver metastases, advanced prostate cancer, bone metastases, glioblastoma, breast ductal carcinoma, lymphoma and lung cancer. View the full schedule of sessions and events.

Survivor Circle returns to the ASTRO Resource Center
The Survivor Circle will once again be a part of the ASTRO Resource Center at the 2012 Annual Meeting. Stop by Booth #8043 to learn more about this year’s Survivor Circle Award winner, Emanuel "Manny" Hamelberg, and the 2012 Survivor Circle Grant recipients, The Center for Cancer Support and Education and the SAM Fund for Young Adult Survivors of Cancer and the valuable services they offer to cancer patients in the Boston area. ASTRO created the Survivor Circle in 2003 to honor cancer survivors. Learn more here.

New Red Journal CME courses available on prostate cancer and spine radiosurgery
ASTRO has two new courses available where members can read an article from the Red Journal and take a brief five-question assessment for CME credit. The two new courses are on the articles “Improved Clinical Outcomes with High-Dose Image Guided Radiotherapy Compared to Non-IGRT for the Treatment of Clinically Localized Prostate Cancer” and “International Spine Radiosurgery Consortium Consensus Guidelines for Target Volume Definition in Spinal Stereotactic Radiosurgery.”

New issues of PRO, Red Journal now online
The October-December issue of Practical Radiation Oncology is now online in advance of print. This is PRO’s largest issue yet. You won’t want to miss Editor W. Robert Lee’s editorial explaining some important changes for the journal. Also, the November 1 issue of the Red Journal is now online. Editor Anthony Zietman’s Issue Highlights give a blueprint of the significant papers in this issue. You will want to read Loren Mell’s editorial on GYN cancers and a critical review by Rick Haas et al on the management of soft tissue sarcomas.

Content last updated 12/14/2012
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