The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) delivered comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) today in response to the agency’s proposed rule that would indefinitely postpone the start of an alternative payment model for radiation oncology (the RO Model). ASTRO’s recommendations to CMS outline actionable steps for a value-based payment model that would stabilize Medicare reimbursement, prioritize health equity, reduce unnecessary administrative burden and improve outcomes for people with cancer.
ASTRO also issued the following statement from Laura A. Dawson, MD, FASTRO, Chair of the ASTRO Board of Directors:
“The recent decision by CMS to indefinitely delay the RO Model creates a renewed opportunity for the agency to work with radiation oncology stakeholders and establish a radiation oncology payment reform initiative that will lead to better outcomes, higher quality and greater equity in cancer care, while still reducing costs for Medicare and patients.
Since CMS introduced the proposed RO Model nearly three years ago, ASTRO has consistently called for modifications to address concerns from a bipartisan coalition of legislators and the cancer care community. These concerns include prioritizing model savings over quality improvement; mandatory participation that goes far beyond any other untested CMS model; an outdated and unnecessarily cumbersome payment methodology; and overly burdensome reporting requirements. Worse, by creating disproportionate risk for providers who care for people from socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, the model would jeopardize these patients’ access to high-quality care and exacerbate health disparities.
An overemphasis on demonstrating absolute savings under the model sacrifices achievable goals of quality improvement and payment stability. Nonetheless, ASTRO believes these worthy goals remain within reach, and we are committed to working with CMS and Congress on a new payment reform initiative that would contribute to President Biden’s strategy to reduce cancer mortality and improve the lives of people with cancer.”
Read the full comment letter here.
The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with nearly 10,000 members who are physicians, nurses, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists and other health care professionals who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. For information on radiation therapy, visit RTAnswers.org. To learn more about ASTRO, visit our website and follow us on social media.