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ASTRO applauds MedPAC review of Stark law exception
Date:6/16/2010

ception to the physician self-referral law, or Stark law. MedPAC said physician self-referral of services in the exception creates incentives to increase volume. MedPAC also noted that the exception was intended for "quick turnaround" services, such as lab tests or X-rays, provided during the same office visit. MedPAC acknowledged that radiation oncology involves multiple sessions and is rarely initiated on the same day as a cancer diagnosis. Rather, it takes several weeks to plan and then deliver radiation therapy.

MedPAC said it is considering several policy recommendations for changes in self-referral of radiation therapy, such as excluding radiation therapy from the exception, limiting the exception to "clinical integrated" practices, and improving payment accuracy.

ASTRO appreciates MedPAC's recognition of the problems of self-referral in radiation oncology. We agree that the preferred long-term solution is to develop payment systems that reward quality over volume, and we support MedPAC's approach to find a more immediate solution that addresses self-referral. ASTRO's position is that radiation therapy should be removed from the Stark law's exception, and we are interested in working with MedPAC, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Congress on the proposed option to require group practices to demonstrate "clinical integration" to be able to provide radiation therapy through the Stark law exception.


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Contact: Nicole Napoli
nicolen@astro.org
703-839-7336
American Society for Radiation Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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