News and Publications

2020 Refresher advance reg, last days for definition paper comment, T&E requirements for radiopharms

January 8, 2020

Register now for 2020 Annual Refresher Course
The ASTRO Annual Refresher Course returns to The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans, March 20-22. Last year’s attendees described this meeting as “an excellent summary of radiation oncology and ongoing trials” and “a high yield, practical review of most diseases sites that highlights new approaches and technology that may shape the future.” This live activity has been approved for a maximum of 18.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, and attendees will have the opportunity to earn Live SA-CME credit by participating in any of the six Live SA-CME sessions offered at the meeting. The program includes special sessions on FLASH radiation oncology and oligometastatic disease. View the full schedule of events and be sure to register by February 26 to take advantage of advance rates.

Renew your ASTRO membership by January 31
2020 ASTRO membership dues are due on January 31. If you haven’t already done so, you can pay your dues or print your invoice from your MyASTRO page.

Deadline extended to January 13 for comments on draft oligometastatic disease consensus document
ASTRO requests feedback on the draft Definition of Oligometastatic Disease (OMD) from a Radiation Oncology Perspective consensus document. The scope of the document is to establish consensus regarding definitions of oligometastatic disease for six different topics related to OMD (disease characteristics, disease burden, timing of OMD, relation to other treatments, endpoints and impact of technology), and define gaps in current evidence. Comments can be submitted via webform through Monday, January 13.

At NRC, advocating for radiation oncologist leadership in radiopharms

At a recent meeting with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair, commissioners and staff, ASTRO Chair Theodore DeWeese, MD, FASTRO, discussed training and experience (T&E) requirements for radiopharmaceuticals as a result of NRC’s outreach to stakeholders, including ASTRO. “One of my priorities is to ensure that radiation oncologists play a leading role in the administration of radiopharmaceuticals. Fending off potential ill-advised changes to training and experience requirements will help achieve that goal,” he writes in this blogpost, which examines current and proposed NRC training and experience requirements for radiopharmaceuticals.

Read more.

Cancer research boost in year-end spending bill
In mid-December, Congress reached agreement on a $1.4 trillion year-end spending package that includes ASTRO-backed increases for cancer research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Cancer Institute (NCI). The NIH budget would receive a $2.6 billion increase to $41.7 billion, of which the NCI would get $6.2 billion for fiscal year 2020, consistent with ASTRO and the cancer research community’s request. The agreement, passed by the House on December 17 and signed by the president on December 21, also raises the minimum age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. The bill also repeals three taxes on high cost health plans, medical devices and health insurers and extends the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s comparative effectiveness research efforts through 2029. Congress could not agree to terms on high profile legislative initiatives to curb the price of prescription drugs and address surprise billing. ASTRO continues to aggressively pursue reforms to the prior authorization process as part of future legislative packages and is buoyed by momentum in support for HR 3107, which now boasts 149 bipartisan co-sponsors. In 2020, ASTRO will keep pushing Congress to maintain Medicare payment stability, including a fair radiation oncology alternative payment model. For more information, go to What’s Happening in Washington.

Accepting nominations for ASTRO Fellows, Gold Medal and Honorary Member
Nominations are now open for ASTRO’s recognition awards: Fellows, Gold Medal and Honorary Member. ASTRO Fellowship is awarded to Active, Emeritus and International members based on length of continuous ASTRO membership, service to ASTRO and contributions to the field of radiation oncology. The Gold Medal is ASTRO’s highest honor and is bestowed on members who have made outstanding contributions to the field. The Honorary Membership is granted each year to a distinguished cancer researcher or leader in a discipline other than radiation oncology, radiation physics or radiobiology, whose work has influenced treating cancer with radiation therapy. View the details on nomination deadlines and eligibility requirements for each award category: Fellow, Gold Medal and Honorary Member.

Deadline approaching: Red Journal special issue on radiation therapy and the immune response
The Red Journal editors formally invite submissions for a forthcoming special issue, “Radiation Therapy and the Immune Response.” The issue is expected to be published this fall, but all accepted scientific articles will publish online soon after acceptance. Papers will receive DOIs and be indexed immediately, thus counting as fully published. The deadline to submit papers for this special issue is Wednesday, January 15. Please contact the Red Journal with any questions.

2020 ASTRO Radiation Oncology Coding Resource now available
The 2020 ASTRO Radiation Oncology Coding Resource, an essential coding reference for all radiation oncology practices, is now available. ASTRO strongly encourages all coding/billing professionals to utilize this resource in their daily practice. The Coding Resource is designed as an orientation and reference document to assist physicians, practice administrators and staff in developing accurate coding and documentation procedures to support billing for RO services. Updated with changes effective January 1, 2020, this resource is published annually to ensure that it reflects the most up-to-date information on CPT coding, rules and regulations related to radiation therapy. Purchase the 2020 ASTRO Radiation Oncology Coding Resource on ASTRO’s website.

MIPS 2019 reporting and 2020 eligibility now available
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has opened the data submission period for Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) eligible clinicians who participated in the 2019 performance period of the Quality Payment Program (QPP). Data can be submitted and updated through 8:00 p.m. Eastern time on March 31, 2020, using the Quality Payment Program website. Also included on the QPP website is preliminary feedback on Part B claims measure data processed to date. CMS will update this feedback at the end of the submission period with claims processed by the Medicare Administrative Contractor within the 60-day run out period. Additionally, CMS has updated the Participation Status Lookup Tool to check on your initial 2020 MIPS eligibility. Details on the 2019 program can be found on the ASTRO website.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles receives APEx accreditation
Congratulations to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, in California, for recently completing the ASTRO Accreditation Program for Excellence (APEx®). To be fully accredited, a facility must meet a majority of the APEx standards in a satisfactory manner, and the accreditation status is valid for four years. View a list of accredited facilities and contact ASTRO staff for additional information on the APEx program.