January 05, 2021

Congress Delays Radiation Oncology Model to Jan. 1, 2022

On Dec. 21, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Omnibus and Coronavirus Relief Bill), which was subsequently signed into law on Dec. 27. The legislation has delayed the start date of the Radiation Oncology Model to Jan. 1, 2022. The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) is strongly in support of the delay.

On Sept. 18, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the radiation oncology (RO) Model final rule which set the start date of the RO Model to Jan. 1, 2021. Following advocacy efforts of the ACR and other stakeholder groups, CMS announced on Oct. 21 that the model would be delayed to July 1, 2021 and formally delayed the model through rulemaking.

The ACR has repeatedly expressed its concerns surrounding the RO Model and its implementation date to CMS, sending the Agency letters in March, July, and October of 2020 as the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) significantly impacted radiation oncology practices and cancer care. Additionally, the ACR signed on to a stakeholder letter led by the American Society for Radiation Oncology urging CMS to delay the Model to Jan. 1, 2022 given challenges with the ongoing PHE.

The ACR is still concerned with aspects of the model, including the steep discount factor cuts, and will continue advocacy efforts for additional improvements to the RO Model. For more information on the RO Model, please see CMS’s website.