News and Publications

New courses on ASTRO Academy - free for members, What’s Happening in Washington roundup

March 22, 2023

New this month ― Science Highlights: Innovations in Patient Safety and Quality of Care
ASTRO members may now access your complimentary Science Highlights recording: Innovations in Patient Safety and Quality of Care session. This session highlights three of the most clinically relevant abstracts within the Patient Safety track of the 2022 ASTRO Annual Meeting Scientific Program. A new Science Highlights session will be released at the end of each month. Science Highlights are free to ASTRO members and cost $79 for nonmembers and may be accessed in the ASTRO Academy.
New ASTRO Academy Advances journal course — free for members
A new Advances journal course is available in the ASTRO Academy. This course will provide practitioners with the knowledge for practice improvement in treating patients with non-small cell lung cancer undergoing definitive chemoradiation followed by consolidative durvalumab. ASTRO members can register for this course for free in the ASTRO Academy and earn 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CME credit.
What’s happening in Washington
Here’s a rundown of ASTRO’s latest efforts in advocacy and health policy related issues.

MedPAC recommends increase in Fee Schedule base payment rate The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) released its March Report to Congress, recommending an update to the 2023 Medicare base payment rate for physician and other health professional services of 50% of the projected increase in the Medicare Economic Index. ASTRO joined other medical specialty societies in submitting a letter to Congress supporting the full implementation of the inflation-based update, rather than just the 50% MedPAC recommendation.

ASTRO sends letter to FDA expressing concern over supply of Pluvicto
ASTRO sent a letter to the FDA expressing concern about patient access to Lutetium LU 177 Vipivotide Tetraxetan (Pluvicto) and support for Novartis’ request for expedited review of their Milburn, New Jersey, production facility. Currently, Novartis is shipping doses from their production facility in Italy to the United States. Failures to meet demand have patients either not receiving their full treatment or experiencing treatment delays.

ASTRO asks Congress to address radiation oncology workforce shortages
ASTRO urged Congress to address workforce shortages among radiation oncology health professionals in a March 20 letter in response to a request for information from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Noting that radiation oncology clinics are facing severe shortages among radiation therapists, dosimetrists, nurses, medical physicists, patient navigators and clinical trial coordinators, as well as a maldistribution of radiation oncologists, the letter suggested several policy solutions.

Urge your senators to support continued funding increases at the NIH
Steady investment in the NIH and its institutes, particularly the National Cancer Institute, is critical to maintaining current research progress and expanding the opportunities for potentially life-saving innovations. Use ASTRO’s Advocacy Action Center to send a message to your senators asking them to sign the bipartisan letter led by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Robert Casey (D-PA) urging a robust budget for NIH in Fiscal Year 2024.

CMS prepares practices for end of PHE
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently released a fact sheet on what to expect as the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency comes to an end.

Final days to provide comments on draft systematic review to inform guideline on RT for bone metastases
The Evidence-based Practice Center Program at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has posted the draft report for the systematic review on Radiation Therapy for Metastatic Bone Disease: Effectiveness and Harms and is available for your feedback until tomorrow, March 23. The draft report describes the findings from the evidence review which will be the foundation for ASTRO’s guideline update.
Dosimetry clinical practice documents’ public comment closes March 31
The American Association of Medical Dosimetrists has drafted updates to their Scope of Practice of a Medical Dosimetrist and Practice Standards for the Medical Dosimetrist documents and is seeking public comment until March 31.
New! Palliative care presentation available
A new PowerPoint presentation is available for members to use as a resource for presentations to other medical professionals. Radiation oncology for inpatient services presents the role of palliative radiation therapy for hospitalized patients. Additional presentations on general radiation therapy and specific disease sites are available for download.