News and Publications

2021 IPPS Final Rule, Coding & Coverage Seminar, Red Journal special COVID-19 issue

September 9, 2020

CMS releases 2021 Inpatient Prospective Payment System final rule
On September 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) final rule. The rule finalizes several issues related to the field of radiation oncology, including New Technology Add-on Payments for radiation oncology related technologies and a policy involving the use of Medicare Advantage market-based payment rates to inform future Medicare rates, among other issues. Please see ASTRO’s summary of the IPPS final rule, which explains these issues in further detail.

Interact with Presidential Symposium presenters
In the September 4 Annual Meeting Daily Digest, Thomas Eichler, MD, FASTRO, invited Annual Meeting attendees to give feedback and ask questions to Presidential Symposium presenters on ROhub. This year’s symposium theme, The Global Clinic: Radiation Oncology in the 21st Century, will set the tone for discussions around Strategic Initiatives, Clinical Challenges and Potential Solutions, Partners and Collaborators, and a Practical Roadmap for Action. Moderators for the symposium will be posting this week on ROhub with a summary of their segment for your information. Help create an interactive and impactful session by posting your feedback and questions.

CMS issues proposed rule to expedite Medicare Coverage for Innovative Technology
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) introduced a proposed rule entitled Medicare Program; Medicare Coverage of Innovative Technology (MCIT) and Definition of “Reasonable and Necessary.” The proposed rule seeks to codify three requirements to meet the definition of “Reasonable and Necessary” for coverage determinations, as well as add commercial coverage of a device in lieu of one of the requirements. The rule also seeks to establish fast track coverage, through an MCIT pathway, for devices that have already secured FDA Breakthrough Device status and received FDA market authorization. The MCIT coverage would apply for four years before the device reverts to the NCD/LCD processes. To read our summary, see What's Happening in Washington.

Virtual Coding and Coverage Seminar registration opens tomorrow
The 2021 ASTRO Coding and Coverage Seminar is being held virtually on Saturday, January 9, 2021. Discounted early registration begins tomorrow, September 10, for a limited time. Seminar participants will utilize the Zoom webinar platform to view presentations and interact live with our distinguished panel of faculty on specific coding topics. All participants will also receive early access to the 2021 ASTRO Coding Resource. For more information or questions, please visit ASTRO’s Coding and Coverage Seminar website.

See APEx FAQs for ASTRO’s accreditation program information
Are you interested in ASTRO's APEx - Accreditation Program for Excellence® for your practice? ASTRO staff have compiled an FAQ page on the ASTRO website with answers to questions on the accreditation and reaccreditation process, payment information — including discounts and payment options — as well as general program knowledge. Find this information about APEx on the ASTRO website, and reach out to APEx support staff by email for additional information.

Three new ASTRO Academy courses available
Three new courses are now available in the ASTRO Academy. Earn SA-CME credit with the latest journal courses, A Blinded, Prospective Study of Error Detection During Physician Chart Rounds in Radiation Oncology and Radiation Fractionation Schedules Published During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Also available is a new Gray Zone course, Delaying Dilemmas: Coronavirus Complications Impacting the Management of Prostate Cancer. ASTRO members receive a discount on all journal courses and can take the Gray Zone course for free.

Red Journal special issue: Through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic
The October edition of the Red Journal features a special pandemic focus. The issue includes an Oncology Scan and Gray Zone that highlight issues related to COVID-19 and radiation oncology, as well as sections about learning from past pandemics, operations and economics through COVID-19, fractionation and changes in patient care, telemedicine and more. A podcast partnership with the Virtual Visiting Professor Network (VVPN) provides an illuminating conversation with virologist Paul Volberding, MD, and Daphne Haas-Kogan, MD, FASTRO, about the parallels and differences between the emergence of HIV/AIDS and COVID-19.