News and Publications

LBA deadline today, ASTRO election closes Friday, RO-APM editorial

July 10, 2019

Today is the deadline to submit late-breaking abstracts for ASTRO 2019
Submit your late-breaking research by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time today, Wednesday, July 10, for the 2019 ASTRO Annual Meeting, taking place September 15-18, at McCormick Place West in Chicago. Original research abstracts will be selected for late-breaking presentations based on scientific merit, timeliness and relevance to ASTRO’s attendees. To be considered, research must include highly significant and timely findings in clinical oncology, radiobiology or medical physics that were not available by the February 24, 2019, submission deadline. View the late-breaking abstract guidelines. Take a look at this short video for a preview of what’s planned for Chicago, and register now for the 61st ASTRO Annual Meeting: Innovate, Collaborate: Transform.

Final days to cast your vote in ASTRO’s 2019 Elections
ASTRO's 2019 official elections are closing soon! Voting will remain open until 5:00 p.m. Eastern time this Friday, July 12. To view the nominees and access the ballot, visit and log in with your email address and password. The ballot and instructions will appear once you log in. If you need assistance with your login information, please send an email to Membership. Voting is conducted through a secure, online system that ensures the authenticity and secrecy of your ballot. Election results will be announced to the ASTRO membership before the end of July 2019.

Registration now open for the 2019 Coding and Coverage Seminar
The 2019 ASTRO Coding and Coverage Seminar will take place December 6-7, at ASTRO headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Be among the first to receive the 2020 ASTRO Radiation Oncology Coding Resource, provided in print and electronic formats to seminar registrants. Seminar topics will include coverage and coding policies specific to radiation oncology, how to assign accurate coding using clinical case studies, how to apply coding by modality, and changes in health care policy that may affect coding and coverage. Last year’s seminar sold out early, so register now, as space is limited.

ASTRO anticipates release of Alternative Payment Model for radiation oncology
ASTRO Immediate Past Chair Brian Kavanagh, MD, MPH, FASTRO, has authored a forthcoming editorial in the Red Journal anticipating the release of an alternative payment model for radiation oncology (RO-APM). In the editorial, Dr. Kavanagh provides insights on how the anticipated model fits within the broader context of health care transformation from fee-for-service to value-based payment, as well as ASTRO’s role in the development of a RO-APM, why it’s necessary for the specialty to transition to bundled payment and the anticipated impact on the specialty.

Read more.

ASTRO responds to OIG 3-D radiotherapy plan report
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report on potential savings to Medicare if billing requirements and system edits prevented additional payments for services related to CPT Code 77295 3-D Radiotherapy Plan. In the report, the OIG compares CPT code 77295 with CPT code 77301 IMRT Treatment Planning, but fails to recognize the distinction in the process of care between 77301, which includes simulation and other related services, and 77295, which does not encompass other services. ASTRO sent comments to the OIG urging them to rescind the report. For more information, please read What’s Happening in Washington.

Upcoming data science and artificial intelligence meetings
Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools are being adopted in health care with hopes of improving treatment planning, patient care and health outcomes. The summer edition of ASTROnews explores the potential impact and pitfalls of these data-driven tools in the radiation oncology field. For a deeper dive into this theme, there are several upcoming workshops and meeting sessions that may be of interest. On July 25, the National Cancer Institute is hosting a one-day workshop, State of Data Science in Radiation Oncology, at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Also, during the 2019 ASTRO Annual Meeting in Chicago, there will be sessions dedicated to big data analytics and the application of AI in radiation oncology. Looking ahead to next year, save the date for July 11-12, 2020, for the ASTRO Research Workshop in Washington D.C., Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence to Improve Radiation Therapy.

2018 MIPS and MIPS APM performance feedback final score now available
Final scores and feedback reports are now available for the 2018 MIPS performance year on the Quality Payment Program website. Data is available for clinicians and practices that participated in MIPS as well as those that are in MIPS APM models, such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) or the Oncology Care Model. ASTRO is asking all practices to download and send their reports to us so that we may advocate with real data on your behalf. Last year’s scores allowed ASTRO to more accurately address issues in advance of the 2019 performance year and tailor educational resources. Additionally, if you believe an error has been made in your 2018 score calculation, you can request a targeted review until September 30, 2019, through the QPP website. Contact ASTRO with any questions or to learn more about the 2019 performance year.

ASTRO submits comments on NRC’s Draft Approaches to Training and Experience Requirements for Radiopharmaceuticals
ASTRO submitted comments on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) request for comments on Draft Approaches for Addressing Training and Experience Requirements for Radiopharmaceuticals Requiring a Written Directive. ASTRO believes that maintaining the status quo is appropriate, protects the safety of patients, the public, and practitioners and should not be changed. For more information, please see What’s Happening in Washington.

AHN Radiation Oncology Network receives APEx® accreditation
Congratulations to AHN Radiation Oncology Network practices of Allegheny General Hospital (Pittsburgh, Pa.); Allegheny Valley Hospital (Natrona Heights, Pa.); Clarion Hospital (Clarion, Pa.); InterCommunity Cancer Center (Monroeville, Pa.); Jefferson Regional Medical Center (Clairton, Pa.); Peters Township Radiation Oncology (Canonsburg, Pa.); Richard G. Laube Cancer Center (Kittanning, Pa.); Somerset Oncology Center (Somerset, Pa.); Tony Teramana Cancer Center (Steubenville, Ohio); West Penn Hospital (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Wexford Health Wellness & Pavilion (Wexford, Pa.) for successfully completing the APEx program! View a list of accredited facilities. Contact ASTRO APEx staff for additional information on the APEx program for your facility.

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