By Jan Dragotta, Radiation Oncology Services Director, Princeton Radiation Oncology, Astera Cancer Care
ASTRO’s annual Coding and Coverage Seminar is an excellent opportunity for those involved in the field of radiation oncology to gain more insight into CPT® coding guidance, billing practices and the evolving challenges medical professionals face in the radiation oncology field today. As an attendee of the Coding and Coverage Seminar, I was surrounded by professional coders and billers, practice administrators and radiation oncologists who experience these same challenges every day. The ASTRO virtual Coding and Coverage Seminar allows for engagement and discussion among participants, which is invaluable, particularly as practices find themselves spread thin and unable to travel due to COVID-19. Attendees have direct access to ASTRO faculty and staff, and I was impressed with the ease with which questions were answered and dialogues transitioned to group discussions throughout the program and after.
As someone who has attended the Coding and Coverage Seminar, I can speak to how highly interactive and informative the sessions are. The ASTRO faculty involved in the seminar included subject matter experts who write ASTRO’s Coding Resource, which serves as a textbook for the seminar and benchmark for best practice. It is a wonderful opportunity to engage in conversations and interact on coding issues, with a heavy emphasis on the clinical process of care. Case studies are presented on intensity-modulated radiation therapy, brachytherapy, proton beam therapy and stereotactic radiosurgery/stereotactic body radiation therapy for a variety of disease sites. These studies are a great tool for discussion and help attendees learn how to apply their newfound coding knowledge and provide specific coding guidance related to each scenario.
The seminar is a wonderful way to not only understand how to correctly use the CPT codes for radiation oncology, but to also understand some background information on the process of code development and valuation. Specific coding changes that are set to occur in the new year are discussed, and attendees can ask questions and gain clarity on this complex subject, helping practices avoid coding and billing errors. Faculty of the Coding and Coverage Seminar genuinely enjoy the opportunity to engage with attendees and help them navigate some of the more complex nuances of radiation oncology coding.
Additional topics covered during the seminar include sessions on the RO Model and Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), payer policy changes and other hot topics impacting the field of radiation oncology. It’s a day well worth spending with ASTRO! I would encourage anyone with a responsibility for coding and those who want to learn more in order to grow within their profession to register for the upcoming December 11 event. An added bonus is that the electronic and hard copy versions of the ASTRO Radiation Oncology Coding Resource is included with your registration, an invaluable reference both during and after the program.