Mesothelioma, the lung cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, has benefited from advancements in cancer treatment. One important treatment used to deal with the disease is radiation therapy. Relatively recent changes to the Medicare program are being implemented as part of the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Improvement (CHIP) Reauthorization Act. They involve moving from measuring performance by value, rather than volume, with a Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and incentives in Alternative Payment Models (APM’s).
A group of radiation oncologists, the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), has been working with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to develop and launch a Radiation Oncology Alternative Payment Model (RO-APM) to qualify for reimbursement under the revised law.
The RO-APM provides incentives for adhering to clinical guidelines for breast, prostate, lung, colorectal, and head and neck cancers. The model seeks to achieve three primary goals:
ASTRO wants to make sure necessary access to radiation oncology continues to be available to patients through Medicare and Medicaid. They recently sent a large group of radiation oncologists from across the nation to lobby Congress, in order to assure that cancer patients continue to have access to radiation oncology for cancer through the new Medicare payment system.
ASTRO emphasized that it is important to support research with continuous and stable funding, to avoid health insurance coverage disruptions for patients with cancer, and to protect medical access to radioactive material.
The radiation oncologists further expressed their support for legislation which would lock the reimbursement rates for certain radiation therapy service at levels from 2016, through 2019.
The Trump administration has proposed cuts to the National Institute of Health budget by $2.3 billion, which could lead to a $300 million cut in funding for the National Cancer Institute (NCI). ASTRO lobbied Congress to reject the cuts and to dedicate more funds to research cancer treatments.
Speaking about ASTRO’s Advocacy Day, the Board of Directors Chairman said: “More than one million cancer patients are treated with radiation therapies each year, either to cure their cancer or relieve pain and other difficult symptoms. Radiation oncology provides immense value to the health care system. Radiation oncologists are visiting Capitol Hill to remind Congress of the multidisciplinary nature of cancer care and call for the opportunity to participate meaningfully in the nationwide transition to value-based health care.”
If you or someone you know has been exposed to asbestos or diagnosed with mesothelioma, contact a Philadelphia area asbestos lawyer at Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown & Sandler. We offer free, confidential initial consultations. Call us at 215-569-4000 or contact us online. We serve clients throughout the greater Philadelphia area.