Hurricane Sandy Could Delay MPFS Final Rule

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With federal government agencies shut down on Monday and Tuesday (and back open today), Michelle Kirkwood, media relations manager, American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO), predicted that the much-anticipated Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) final rule may be postponed until next week.

The proposed MPFS fee schedule included a 40% reimbursement cut on the delivery of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT). As a result, the publication of the final rule is something ASTRO has been following closely.

If the final rule is delayed, Shawn Farley, director of Public Affairs, American College of Radiology (ACR), doubts that the actual content would be impacted in any substantive way. However, it could be a different story for the comment period.

“It is not out of the realm of possibility that the 60-day comment period [following release of the final rule] could be affected by a few days,” said Farley. “We would, of course, adjust our efforts accordingly, if this were the case.”

When the final rule comes out, perhaps during the week of Nov 5 due to weather delays, Laura Thevenot, CEO of ASTRO, hopes the most egregious provisions will be gone, or at least softened. “The chance of them totally reversing everything that it is in the proposed rule is probably not good,” said Thevenot in a recent interview with ImagingBiz. “But I think we made a strong case with Congress.”