Radiation oncology groups unite to reform Medicare payments

Four U.S. physician groups representing radiation oncology have partnered to try to reform Medicare payments and expand patient access to high-quality care.

Leaders of the American College of Radiation Oncology (ACRO), the American College of Radiology (ACR), the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) stressed the need for a unified approach to create meaningful change on this critical issue, ASTRO said in a January 9 news release.

Medicare payments for radiation therapy services have been cut by 23% since 2013 and this threatens patient access to cancer care in communities across the country, with further cuts likely in coming years, according to ASTRO.

ACRO, ACR, ASTRO, and ASCO will now work together to ensure that cost-effective, high-value cancer care services are available for Medicare beneficiaries and all patients while positioning the specialty for innovative breakthroughs in cancer treatment for future generations, ASTRO said.

In other news, ASTRO said that chief executive officer Laura Thevenot plans to retire at the end of 2024 after leading the organization since 2002.

During Thevenot’s tenure, membership grew by over 50% to its current level of more than 10,500 physicians, biologists, physicists, radiation therapists, dosimetrists, and other healthcare professionals, the society noted.

“It has been my privilege to work on behalf of our ASTRO members these past 22 years,” Thevenot said, in a statement.

The ASTRO Board of Directors has engaged Korn Ferry to conduct the nationwide executive search for Thevenot’s replacement, ASTRO said.

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