News and Publications

Coding & Coverage reg open, Updates from CODEx, Submit comments for oligo NSCLC guideline

November 2, 2022

Upcoming eContouring Webinar – eContouring for Head and Neck Cancer – Free to Members-in-Training
Registration is open for the 2022 eContouring for Head and Neck Cancer Webinar. This webinar will take place on December 15, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time and will be led by Sung Kim, MD, and Suresh Mukherji, MD, MBA. This ASTRO Academy webinar offers access to hands-on contouring practice on real cases in addition to a live webinar with time for Q&A. CME credits are available and can be used as a PQI project for those participating in MOC for the ABR. ASTRO members receive a discount at registration and Members-in-Training can register for free.
2022 ASTRO Annual Meeting onDemand is now available!
The onDemand meeting offers you the opportunity to learn and preserve vital information presented by leading experts in the treatment of cancer at the 2022 ASTRO Annual Meeting. The meeting theme, “Artificial Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence: Caring for the Patient in a Wireless World,” highlighted the potential of AI, Big Data and the latest scientific breakthroughs, in addition to showcasing the central role of human interaction in caring for and curing our patients. With the onDemand meeting you’ll receive more than 180 hours of educational content and the ability to claim 170+ AMA PRA Category 1™ CME credits. Recordings will be available until June 1, 2023. The onDemand meeting was included with all full conference registrations. If you did not register for the Annual Meeting, you may purchase the onDemand meeting now!
Registration opens for the December 2022 Virtual Coding and Coverage Seminar
The December 2022 Virtual Coding and Coverage Seminar will address coding and coverage policies specific to radiation oncology, how to assign accurate coding, clinical case study walkthroughs, Q&A sessions and much more. Radiation oncologists and their coding staff are invited to participate in this convenient one-day virtual seminar being led by coding experts on Saturday, December 10. The goal of this seminar is to make clinical coding easier to understand and apply for your practice. All participants will receive early access to the 2023 ASTRO Coding Resource. Register now.
Research funding and training opportunities for residents, fellows and other trainees
Help spread the word! ASTRO is accepting applications from U.S.-based early career scientists for the 2023 Grant and Fellowship Program. ASTRO Seed Grants (up to $25,000 over one year) foster the research careers of residents and fellows interested in radiation oncology related research. Seed Grants in partnership with AAPM and the LUNGevity Foundation, will also be offered for 2023. In addition, five ASTRO-Industry Radiation Oncology Research Training Fellowships are available that provide salary and benefits support and unique training in the industry settings for up to one year. Learn more about each opportunity. Apply and find the detailed Program Announcements at ProposalCentral or email Scientific Affairs with questions.
ASTRO seeks public comments for guideline: Treatment of Oligometastatic NSCLC
ASTRO requests feedback on the draft Treatment of Oligometastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Guideline, which focuses on the use of local (radiation, surgery, other ablative methods) and systemic therapy in the management of oligometastatic NSCLC. The key questions address identification of evidence-based clinical scenarios for using local therapy, sequencing and timing when integrating local with systemic therapies, radiation techniques critical for oligometastatic disease targeting and treatment delivery, and the role of local therapy for oligoprogression or recurrent disease. Access the draft guideline and submission webform and submit your comments by November 28.
CMS releases 2023 MPFS and HOPPS final rules
Yesterday the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2023 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) final rules, with cuts of 4% to radiation oncology due to reductions to the conversion factor and the second year of the clinical labor price update, which shifts resources from specialties to primary care services. Additionally, CMS notes in the MPFS that it is reviewing the current payment policy related to the conventional treatment delivery, IMRT and IGRT “G” codes, which could result in additional payment cuts in future rulemaking. ASTRO remains concerned that the continued payment cuts to radiation therapy services will impact access to care close to home. ASTRO and aligned stakeholders are actively lobbying Congress to address planned payment cuts by year end.

Please contact your member of Congress to oppose Medicare cuts. Additional MPFS and HOPPS analysis of specific code level impact and detailed summaries of both rules will be issued in the coming days.
ASTRO to Congress: Medicare Physician Payment Reform urgently needed
In response to a request from bipartisan members of Congress, ASTRO issued a letter seeking “major reforms” to Medicare physician payments to best serve the needs of beneficiaries, physicians and taxpayers. The letter notes that radiation oncology has had a front row seat to witness the serious flaws in the physician fee schedule and the difficulties in transitioning to value-based payments. The request for ideas is among the first steps Congress is taking to address a series of Medicare physician pay cuts by year-end and to consider longer-term reform legislation in the next year. See What’s Happening in Washington for more info.
New on the Blog: Updates from the CodeX Initiative
Four years ago, during the development of the Minimum Data Elements for Radiation Oncology (MDE), ASTRO took a calculated leap of faith and joined the Common Oncology Data Elements eXtension (CodeX) initiative. While ASTRO’s original goal was to develop a way to automatically generate end-of-treatment summaries, the potential has proven to be much greater. Read more on the blog about how this potential is taking shape in the areas of treatment summary automation, meaningful quality measures and streamlined prior authorization.
APEx welcomes new facilities
Congratulations to City of Hope – South Pasadena, located in South Pasadena, California, Riverside Radiation Oncology Newport News, located in Newport News, Virginia, ThedaCare Cancer Center, located in Appleton, Wisconsin, Texas Oncology – Abilene, located in Abilene, Texas, and VA Health System, Greater Los Angeles, located in Los Angeles, for each recently achieving initial accreditation through ASTRO’s APEx - Accreditation Program for Excellence®.

Additional congratulations to the following facilities for each recently achieving reaccreditation through APEx: Banner MD Anderson North Colorado Medical Center, located in Greeley, Colorado, MultiCare Regional Cancer Center, located in Tacoma, Washington, Providence RadiantCare Radiation Oncology, located in Lacey, Washington, and University of Toledo Medical Center, located in Toledo, Ohio.

The APEx process provides a transparent, measurable, evidence- and consensus-based review of compliance with standards that emphasize a radiation oncology practice’s commitment to safety and quality. View a list of accredited facilities and contact ASTRO staff to learn about the new options for accreditation and why APEx is The Right Choice™ to accredit your radiation oncology practice.
Peer-to-Peer Match helps rural, small practices with peer review
ASTRO hosts Peer-to-Peer Match, a platform to connect radiation oncologists, particularly those in small or rural practices, for the purpose of peer review. Located in the ROhub, Peer-to-Peer Match is part of an expanding lineup of ASTRO services to support members. The online tool, including a searchable database, facilitates the establishment of relationships for the purpose of peer review of patient cases.
Letters of Intent for 2023 ROI grants due November 10
Don’t miss your chance to apply for the next round of research awards from the Radiation Oncology Institute (ROI)! The deadline to submit a Letter of Intent for the current funding opportunity focused on “A New Era of Radiotherapy” is Thursday, November 10 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. Through this call, ROI seeks to advance research on new radiotherapy methods that have the potential to transform practice and improve outcomes for patients. Typical grants will be $50,000 but budgets up to $100,000 will be considered. Visit the ROI website for more information on eligibility and how to apply.