ASTRO: Proposed radiation oncology APM can improve patient care

CMS revealed details for their newly proposed alternative payment model for radiation oncology on July 10. The American Society of Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) believes the model, with adjustments, "will incentivize higher quality, more convenient radiation treatments for patients and support their journey toward a cure."

“The Radiation Oncology (RO) Model announced today by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) is a step forward in allowing the nation’s 4,500 radiation oncologists to participate in the transition to value-based care that improves outcomes for cancer patients,” said Paul Harari, MD, chair of the ASTRO Board of Directors, in a statement. “We believe that once implemented with modifications, the model will incentivize higher quality, more convenient radiation treatments for patients and support their journey toward a cure.”

The five-year model, according to CMS, will apply to 17 cancer types constituting 84% of all radiotherapy services and qualify as an advanced alternative payment model and a merit-based incentive payment system APM (MIPS APM) under the CMS Quality Payment Program.

CMS said the model is projected to begin either January 1, 2020 or April 1, 2020 and conclude on December 31, 2024. It will require participation from radiotherapy providers and suppliers that “furnish” RT services within randomly selected core based statistical areas.

“In our comments to CMS, ASTRO will prioritize recommendations that achieve our longstanding payment reform goals, including stable and fair payments accompanied by incentives for higher quality care and lower costs. In addition, ASTRO will look closely for opportunities to ensure the model is consistent with the Administration’s initiative to reduce physician burden and paperwork.”

Read more details about the proposed APM here.