News and Publications

2020 Gold Medal recipients, attestation extended again, new ASTRO Academy courses

May 27, 2020

ASTRO announces 2020 Gold Medal Award recipients
ASTRO is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 Gold Medal Award, the highest honor ASTRO bestows upon members who have made outstanding contributions to the field of radiation oncology. Congratulations to Bruce Haffty, MD, FASTRO, associate vice chancellor for cancer programs and chair, radiation oncology at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, an internationally recognized leader in breast cancer radiation therapy, and to Brian O’Sullivan, MD, FASTRO, professor of radiation oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital, University of Toronto, a renowned clinician and researcher in head and neck cancer and soft tissue sarcoma. Congratulations to both recipients! The Gold Medals will be awarded in October during a virtual Awards Ceremony at ASTRO's 62nd Annual Meeting. The Gold Medalists will also be recognized at next year’s meeting in Chicago.

Attestation deadline extended again for Provider Relief Fund
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced an extension of the attestation deadline for the Provider Relief Fund payments that were distributed in April. Physicians now have 90 days from receipt of payments to attest and accept the Terms and Conditions or return the funds. The Provider Relief Fund was established through the CARES Act distributing a total of $50 billion to providers impacted by COVID-19 to support expenses or lost revenue attributable to COVID-19. For more information on the Provider Relief Fund, check out What’s Happening in Washington.

Reminder: Contact Congress to advocate for radiation oncology COVID-19 relief
Have you contacted your congressional representatives to advocate for additional funding to the Provider Relief Fund; providing more small business loans; improving the Accelerated and Advance Payments program; and expanding Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) eligibility? Visit our Advocacy Action Center at www.astro.org/advocate to contact Congress now. Radiation oncology practices and clinics continue to face drastic current and long-term obstacles to providing the highest quality patient care and ensuring financial stability. See the results of a recent ASTRO survey and contact Congress to make your voice heard.

NRC issues additional enforcement guidance due to COVID-19 public health emergency
On May 19, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued additional guidance to medical licensees in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). The NRC recognizes that licensees may choose to suspend use of licensed material in response to state and local orders or federal guidelines, resulting in licensees not having sufficient staff to continue their use of licensed material, and some licensees may be challenged to comply with certain regulatory requirements and/or license conditions. The NRC may exercise enforcement discretion and not cite licensees for violations of NRC requirements when application of the normal process is not appropriate given the circumstances. For more information, please see What’s Happening in Washington.

CMS corrects inappropriate denials associated with CT image guidance
Recently, ASTRO members reported denials from Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) for CPT code 77014, CT Image Guidance. The MACs incorrectly required practices to have Advanced Diagnostic Imaging (ADI) accreditation to bill for the technical component of 77014. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirmed that this issue has been corrected, and practices should resubmit improperly denied claims for reimbursement. For more information, read What’s Happening in Washington, and visit our website for information on radiation therapy practice accreditation.

New ASTRO Academy Courses available
Earn SA-CME credit with two new courses from the 2019 ASTRO Annual Meeting. Biomarkers in Radiation Oncology: Past, Present and Future teaches how to identify current biomarkers in routine use and describe their clinical significance. Minimizing Toxicity through Multidisciplinary Care of Complex Head and Neck Cancer Cases teaches how to differentiate which disease sites will benefit from upfront surgical approaches versus chemoradiation approaches in terms of long-term toxicity in head and neck cancer. ASTRO members receive a discount on the SA-CME Online Courses.

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