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Cancer Community Alarmed at CMS Policy Lumping Life-Saving Cancer Therapy With Diagnostic Testing For Major Funding Cuts
Date:9/1/2009

Clinicians and Patient Advocates Applaud Bipartisan Congressional Letter Led by U.S. Reps. Griffith, Myrick, Capps and Rogers Encouraging Federal Policymakers to Spare Radiation Therapy from Drastic Cuts

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by US Oncology:

Concerned members of the cancer community, including physicians, patient organizations and other care advocates, spoke out today in opposition to a proposed federal policy under consideration by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that would lump life-saving radiation therapy in with diagnostic testing services in receiving major Medicare funding cuts. In support of their cause, a bipartisan letter led by Reps. Parker Griffith (D-AL), Sue Myrick (R-NC), Lois Capps (D-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI), was sent to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging a reversal of this proposal.

"I am very alarmed at the prospect of these dangerous funding cuts being made to radiation therapy, which is a safe and effective treatment proven as a trusted tool in the fight against cancer," said Bernard W. Taylor, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Texas Oncology-Longview Cancer Center in Longview, Texas. "For vulnerable cancer patients like mine, this proposed policy would limit their access to vital radiation treatment through longer wait times and less time spent with their doctors. We must educate policymakers on the radical difference between life-saving, therapeutic radiation therapy and diagnostic testing, and the critical need to spare radiation therapy from these cuts."

At issue is a 19 percent funding cut in Medicare reimbursement to the radiation oncology specialty contained within the CY 2010 Physician Fee Schedule Proposed Rule, equating to cuts of up to 44 percent for certain codes critical to the provision of radiation therap
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SOURCE US Oncology
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