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ASTRO applauds nomination of Dr. Donald Berwick to head Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) applauds President Obama's selection of Donald Berwick, M.D., to serve as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. ASTRO looks forward to working closely with Dr. Berwick, the administration and Congress to implement critical healthcare reforms for patients and work toward system reforms that align incentives across providers to improve the quality of care patients receive.

ASTRO's highest priority is excellence in patient care. We look forward to working with Dr. Berwick to advance evidence-based medicine to ensure that each cancer patient gets the care that will be most effective for his or her cancer. ASTRO also believes that the proper alignment of financial incentives is important. When a patient's medical condition requires a referral for specialized care, the treatment decision must be based on quality care and patient choice, not financial incentives. ASTRO is increasingly concerned by business ventures across the country designed to generate additional revenues within a group practice by incorporating radiation oncology by taking advantage of a loophole in the physician self-referral law. These arrangements threaten the integrity of the Medicare program and high-quality patient care.

"Dr. Berwick has demonstrated an unmatched record of accomplishment for implementing ground-breaking initiatives to improve quality and protect patients from harm and unnecessary healthcare services. Dr. Berwick should be confirmed swiftly so he can provide leadership at CMS on healthcare reform implementation and ensure that Medicare beneficiaries with cancer receive the highest quality of care," Laura I. Thevenot, ASTRO CEO, said. "We are committed to working with Dr. Berwick to address financial incentives and preserve the independent judgment and choice that patients deserve in making life and death decisions."


Contact: Nicole Napoli
American Society for Radiation Oncology

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