ASTRO Members Lobby Congress to End Self-Referral Loophole

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According the American Society for Radiation Oncology, more than 100 ASTRO members met with more than 300 members of Congress as part of the 10th annual ASTRO Advocacy Day. The members asked senators, representatives and health staffers to end the in-office ancillary services exception to self-referral restrictions. Closing this “loophole” in laws that prevent physicians from ordering tests and procedures that they then also perform was included in the President’s budget with an estimated savings of more than $6 billion. The members also asked legislators to stabilize Medicare payments and sustain cancer research funding. Medicare payments to physicians still face the threat of a sustainable growth rate (SGR) cut of more than a third starting next year and funding for the National Institutes of Health took a big hit when the sequester went into effect. The day before the April 30 trip to Capitol Hill, the ASTRO members prepared and listened to guest speakers, including Mark McClellan, MD, former head of the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, and a bipartisan Senate Finance Committee staff panel.