Radiation Therapy Fights Back Against Proposed Medicare Cuts

This article originally appeared on Auntminnie.com. Copyright 2012 Auntminnie.com - All Rights Reserved

Radiology HISAugust 16, 2012 -- Few radiation oncology practices were prepared when the federal government proposed double-digit cuts in Medicare reimbursement in July. But the specialty's defenders are mobilizing to fight back with a major line of attack on the methodology used to justify the payment changes.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed cutting payments to radiation oncologists by 15% and reducing payments to radiation therapy centers by 19%. The cuts are part of the proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) for 2013.

Letters opposing the proposed reductions are focusing on reimbursement for two types of radiotherapy for cancer patients, and they are circulating in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. Even though both legislative bodies are in recess, signatures are being obtained, and a surge of support is expected in mid-September after legislators have returned to Capitol Hill.

Radiation therapy proponents say that CMS used a faulty methodology in developing the new reimbursement levels, relying on information in patient literature to calculate treatment times rather than more rigorous statistical data used in the past to set payment rates. Ironically, much of the patient literature used by CMS was produced by academic societies themselves.

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