Radiation oncology association pushes back on CMS payment model, calls for delay

The new payment model for radiation oncology practices finalized by CMS does not address many of the community’s key concerns, and its implementation should be delayed, according to the American Society for Radiation Oncology.

CMS on Sept 18 finalized the advanced alternative payment model for radiation oncology, which aims to improve care outcomes for cancer patients who receive radiotherapy while lowering Medicare costs. The model, which will begin Jan. 1, features bundled payments that CMS said will incentivize the use of more clinically and cost-effective treatments.

But in a statement, Theodore L. DeWeese, MD, chair of the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s board of directors, said that requiring practices to participate in the model from January onward “is untenable for practices already enduring staff shortages and other challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

To comply with the model’s requirements, practices will have to make significant changes and investments.

The society urged CMS to delay the model’s start date “rather than foster unnecessary chaos and burden for the practices this model is designed to support.”

The American Society for Radiation Oncology includes more than 10,000 physicians, nurses, biologists, radiation therapists and other healthcare professionals who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies.

Read the full statement here.

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