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News and Publications

E/M coding webinar, Facebook Live on RT for lung cancer, new Medicare regs

November 25, 2020

Reminder: Register for the 2021 E/M Coding for Radiation Oncology webinar
Don’t forget to register for the webinar on the new Evaluation and Management (E/M) office visit codes scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2021. Join our esteemed panelists, Barbara Levy, MD, co-chair of the American Medical Association CPT/RUC E/M Workgroup, and Amar Rewari, MD, ASTRO’s alternate advisor to the RUC, as they help prepare radiation oncologists and practice administrators for the implementation of the E/M changes set for January 1, 2021. Register at ASTRO Academy and see more in What’s Happening in Washington.


Radiation Therapy for Lung Cancer Facebook Live Q&A
On Monday, November 30, at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time, ASTRO will be hosting a Facebook Live event on Radiation Therapy for Lung Cancer, in honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month. The live Q&A will be hosted by Malcolm Mattes, MD, and will feature Kristin Higgins, MD; Salma Jabbour, MD; Cliff Robinson, MD; and James Urbanic, MD, as the panel of expert radiation oncologists. This is a chance for patients to ask questions directly to radiation oncologists and is open to the public via Facebook. Bookmark www.facebook.com/RTAnswers, and tune in on November 30 to hear from this expert panel. Also, please feel free to share the event with patient advocacy groups.


Sweeping new Medicare regs support value-based arrangements, local transportation access
On November 20, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and HHS Office of the Inspector General (OIG) finalized new regulations to reform the physician self-referral law and anti-kickback statute, including an ASTRO-backed plan to expand the distance that local transportation can be provided by health care providers to support rural patients. The rules respond to concerns from the health care community about the need for the physician self-referral and anti-kickback laws to accommodate the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care. CMS created new self-referral exceptions for value-based payment arrangements, while OIG created or modified safe harbors under the anti-kickback statute. Based on work of ASTRO’s Rural Task Force, ASTRO supported OIG’s plan to allow providers to offer local transportation services to patients up to 75 miles, beyond the existing 50-mile limit. For more information, read What’s Happening in Washington.


Need additional SA-CME or CME for 2020?
New courses are now available in the ASTRO Academy. Earn SA-CME credit with the latest journal course, Impact of Sequencing of Androgen Suppression and Radiotherapy on Testosterone Recovery in Localized Prostate Cancer. If you’re looking for CME credits, the Red Journal Oncology Scans 2020, with up to seven CME credits, is also available. ASTRO members receive a discount on all journal courses and can take the new Gray Zone course for free!


ASTRO seeks public comments for guideline on radiation for soft tissue sarcoma
ASTRO requests feedback on the draft Radiation Therapy for Treatment of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in Adults: An ASTRO Clinical Practice Guideline. The guideline addresses the role of radiation therapy (RT) in the treatment of adult patients with primary, operable, localized soft tissue sarcoma of the extremity and trunk and the complexities related to RT for retroperitoneal sarcoma. The guideline includes indications for RT and provides dose, technique and treatment planning recommendations. Comments can be submitted via webform through Monday, January 4, 2021. You can also access the draft guideline and webform at www.astro.org/PublicComment.


Giving thanks

While this Thanksgiving holiday may be different from holidays past, this is constant: our gratitude for the honor of serving you, our members. As we mark Thanksgiving this year, ASTRO offers our heartfelt thanks to you for your continued support of the Society. We are grateful to you, the dedicated health care workers throughout our nation and around the world, who have risen to the challenges in this unparalleled time, continuing to do what you do best — care for others in need. From the bottom of our hearts: thank you.

Patient brochures available to order
ASTRO has created patient education brochures to help people diagnosed with cancer and their families learn more about available treatment options. The color brochures are available to view online and for ASTRO members to order in packs of 50, with bulk pricing available for orders of 10 packs or more. Covering broad topics, such as radiation therapy for cancer, as well as specific disease sites, the brochures provide information written specifically with a patient in mind. Additionally, the brochures on radiation therapy, stereotactic radiotherapy and radiation therapy for breast cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer are available in Spanish. See all patient education products on the ASTRO.org website.


Bassett Healthcare Network receives APEx accreditation
Congratulations to Bassett Healthcare Network, located in Cooperstown and Oneonta, New York, for being the first two facilities from New York to complete ASTRO’s APEx - Accreditation Program for Excellence®. APEx was recently recognized as a qualified accreditation body by the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Radiation Protection. 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.


Holiday giving to ROI
Next Tuesday, December 1, is not just any Tuesday. It is Giving Tuesday, a day to celebrate the impact that giving has worldwide. It also means that your gift to the ROI will be doubled! ROI Board members Jay Hoey and J. Frank Wilson, MD, FASTRO, are matching gifts on #GivingTuesday up to a total of $10,000. Your gift to the ROI now is more important than ever before. ROI’s ability to fund research in radiation oncology depends on your contributions. Take this opportunity to have your gift doubled. Mark your calendar now for next Tuesday, December 1, and plan to participate in #GivingTuesday!