AONN+ Voices Opposition to Radiation Oncology Reimbursement Cuts

CRANBURY, N.J., Dec. 8, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) signed a letter in support of other advocacy organizations urging congressional leaders to pass legislation to prevent massive Medicare payment cuts to radiation oncology.

As part of its policy changes for calendar year 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed to cut radiation oncology reimbursement by approximately 8% (or nearly $150 million) under the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and by $150 million under the Radiation Oncology Alternative Payment Model (RO Model).

These changes have met with opposition from the medical community, with the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) leading the effort calling on CMS to reconsider its decisions. Dave Adler, ASTRO’s Vice President of Advocacy, described the impact these payment cuts would have on practices:

  • They will have difficulty financially supporting the sophisticated technology
  • High-skill staff essential for a modern radiation therapy clinic could not be supported
  • Practices treating underserved populations will be hit hardest

There would also be a potential negative impact on access to high-quality radiation oncology care:

  • Reduce access to high-quality care close to patients’ homes. Community-based practices will experience payment instability
  • Exacerbate healthcare disparities in cancer treatment among rural and minority populations
  • Patients could present with more advanced stage disease requiring more expensive treatment

AONN+ leaders believe the payment cuts have the potential to exacerbate healthcare disparities as people are still struggling through the pandemic.

Jamie Callahan, Chair of the AONN+ Policy & Advocacy Committee, said, “This directly impacts patients, and one committee member pointed out that with more late-stage diagnoses due to COVID delays, radiation will be more important as a treatment modality. We should do everything we can to make sure patients are still able to access this treatment.”

This collective voice of AONN+ supports a core competency of navigation to assist patients in accessing cancer care and navigating healthcare systems. Navigators assess barriers to care and engage patients and families in creating potential solutions to financial, practical, and social challenges.

Since 2014, CMS has explored potential ways to test an episode-based payment model for radiotherapy services. According to a summary on the CMS website, the proposed RO Model would test whether making site-neutral payments to physician practices, including free-standing radiation therapy centers, would reduce Medicare expenditures while “preserving or enhancing the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries.”

As a result of disruptions during the pandemic, the model’s planned implementation has been extended twice. The new start date of the model is January 1, 2022.

About the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc (http://www.aonnonline.org):
The Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators, Inc (AONN+), is the largest national specialty organization dedicated to improving patient care and quality of life by defining, enhancing, and promoting the role of oncology nurse and patient navigators. The organization, which has more than 8900 members, was founded in 2009 to provide a network for all professionals involved and interested in patient navigation and survivorship care services in order to better manage the complexities of the cancer treatment process.

About The Lynx Group (http://www.thelynxgroup.com):
The Lynx Group (TLG) is a premier medical communications and education company acutely focused on oncology and rare disease states. TLG specializes in market access to and with advanced practice providers, patients, and their caregivers. With more than 100 years of combined senior leadership experience, TLG continually creates award-winning medical education and cultivates strong relationships within proprietary brands serving patients and their caregivers, physicians, payers, nurses, pharmacists, navigators, and practice managers.
TLG has broad and deep experience in crafting custom, award-winning solutions for life science and biotech companies. Currently, TLG partners with more than 50 of the top pharma and biotech companies globally. TLG proudly serves as co-founder and association management company of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) and the Association for Value-Based Cancer Care (AVBCC).

Media Contact

Carol Bustos, The Lynx Group, +1 (209) 298-5716, [email protected]

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SOURCE Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+)

AONN+ Voices Opposition to Radiation Oncology Reimbursement Cuts WeeklyReviewer

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