News and Publications

Advance reg deadline, CMS releases proposed 2020 payment rules, Red Journal call for papers

August 7, 2019

Advance registration deadline for ASTRO19 approaching
Be sure to register by August 15 to receive the advance rates for the 2019 ASTRO Annual Meeting, taking place September 15-18 at McCormick Place West in Chicago. Many exciting changes are planned for this year’s meeting, including a provocative and collaborative Presidential Symposium centered around the topic “Curing Metastatic Disease with RT: Myth or Reality?” The Annual Meeting program also features a special “Cancer Breakthroughs” session on Wednesday morning, providing an overview of the most important science presented over the past year at ASCO, AACR, AAPM and RRS meetings. And, just announced, a late-breaking abstract has been added to the Plenary Session: NRG-HN002: A Randomized Phase II Trial for Patients with p16-Positive, Non-smoking-associated, Locoregionally Advanced Oropharyngeal Cancer.” Search all sessions by date, track, type or speaker on the Conference Planner.

CMS releases proposed 2020 payment rules: PFS G-codes retained for another year
On Monday, July 29, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the 2020 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) and Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (HOPPS) proposed rules. ASTRO is pleased that the MPFS proposes to retain the treatment delivery, IMRT and image guidance G-codes through 2020. The HOPPS proposes modest changes to the payment rates of traditional radiation oncology Ambulatory Payment Classifications. ASTRO has prepared detailed summaries on both the MPFS and HOPPS.

Submit abstracts to Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium by September 4
The 2020 Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancers Symposium: Expanding Treatment Horizons, takes place February 27-29, 2020, at The Westin Kierland Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Arizona. Abstracts will be considered for oral or poster presentation. This is an opportunity to present and discuss your research with professional colleagues at this specialized meeting for the entire head and neck cancer treatment community. This multidisciplinary meeting encourages interaction among all participants, and we are seeking the best science from every area of the field. Visit the abstract submission page for details on the tracks and guidelines and to access the online submission site. The abstract submission deadline is September 4, 2019, at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time. This meeting is cosponsored by the American Head and Neck Society, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, ASTRO and the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer.

Igniting the spark: Mentoring the next generation of radiation oncology

ASTRO has long supported avenues for building prosperous mentor-mentee relationships. The Minority Summer Fellowship (MSF) program is one such example as a way to support medical students interested in radiation oncology research and provide opportunities for mentorships. Kekoa Taparra, PhD, recipient of an MSF award, and Nadia Laack, MD, share their experiences in mentorship, from the mentee and mentor’s perspectives.

Read more.

Red Journal special issue call for papers
The Red Journal will feature a special issue on the topic of “Radiation Therapy and the Immune Response.” The call for papers for this special issue, according to Editor-in-Chief Anthony Zietman, MD, FASTRO, is broad and will cover many topics, from the role of the immune system in cancer surveillance and control to immunologic effects of the tumor microenvironment and clinical trials of immunologic stimulation incorporating radiation therapy. Submissions are invited now through January 15, 2020. View full details of the call here. Papers should be submitted through the manuscript management system, and questions may be directed to the Red Journal.

Annual Meeting Career Center package now available
If you are attending the ASTRO Annual Meeting as an employer or job seeker, don’t miss the opportunity to connect in Chicago. Employers can purchase a special Annual Meeting package to let job seekers know you are available for interviews in Chicago. Job seekers can search Annual Meeting listings to apply for positions and request an interview with employers. An interactive Job Board, featuring Annual Meeting job listings, will be available in the Central Concourse, Level 3 of McCormick Place West during ASTRO’s 61st Annual Meeting, September 15-18. Private interview rooms are available to rent during the meeting. Contact Todd Karstaedt for more information or to reserve an interview room.

APEx, MIPS and RO-ILS office hours at the Annual Meeting
Do you have questions about ASTRO’s quality programs, APEx® and RO-ILS®, or Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the new radiation oncology alternative payment model (RO-APM)? ASTRO staff are available for one-on-one support or team meetings during the Annual Meeting. Whether you are just beginning or currently working on implementing a plan, we are here to help. For individualized APEx assistance, we recommend scheduling in advance. However, walk-in inquiries are welcome for all programs. Office hours dates, times, location and contact information are available here.

Latest RO-ILS Aggregate Report now online
The Radiation Oncology Healthcare Advisory Council (RO-HAC) analyzes RO-ILS® data and develops education for the radiation oncology community based on more than 10,000 safety events reported to the patient safety organization. The Q3, Q4 2018 Aggregate Report contains seven case reviews, potential mitigation strategies and resources focused on three themes: vertebral body alignment; high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy treatment length and dwell times; and patient identification and communication. Previous aggregate reports — many with accompanying free continuing medical education — and independent case studies are available on the RO-ILS webpage. For questions about the RO-ILS program, email

August ASTRO Academy course discount
August is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, and ASTRO members can receive a 10% discount on these two ASTRO Academy courses: Pediatric Cancer and NCI Workshop on Proton Therapy for Children: Considerations Regarding Brain Stem Injury. Use coupon code 2019AugustSavings soon, as this offer will expire on August 31!