I have been in private practice for the past 20 years, but spent the first decade of my practice in an academic setting. I am fortunate to be part of a large practice group in the Chicago area (Radiation Oncology Consultants) which has access to virtually all forms of radiation therapy, covering from urban centers to suburban (and nearly rural) centers. We also have strong ties with multiple academic programs, which offers the chance to keep abreast of the changes in those practices. This has led to my strong interest in two areas: clinical research and health policy.
I have been involved in clinical research primarily through multiple cooperative groups, both for children and adults. My research interests still involve the use of technology to improve outcomes, using proton therapy. My initial research was primarily in palliative care – trying to provide the most improvement in quality of life with the least intervention. My current research is primarily with particle therapy – trying to provide the most improvement in quality of life, but with a more technologically complex intervention.
My interest in health policy began with issues regarding coding and utilization, something which had a major impact on my practice but was not much of a part of my training. I have been involved in health policy at ASTRO for more than a decade, specifically with regards to code development and utilization. I am currently the ASTRO advisor to the AMA CPT panel, which is responsible for the development of new codes which describe the work we do. The changing health care reimbursement environment has obviously made this a very challenging area.