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JCM, Vol. 10, Pages 4706: Assessment of MRI-Linac Economics under the RO-APM

Journal of Clinical Medicine doi: 10.3390/jcm10204706

Authors:
Russell F. Palm
Kurt G. Eicher
Austin J. Sim
Susan Peneguy
Stephen A. Rosenberg
Stuart Wasserman
Peter A. S. Johnstone

The implementation of the radiation oncology alternative payment model (RO-APM) has raised concerns regarding the development of MRI-guided adaptive radiotherapy (MRgART). We sought to compare technical fee reimbursement under Fee-For-Service (FFS) to the proposed RO-APM for a typical MRI-Linac (MRL) patient load and distribution of 200 patients. In an exploratory aim, a modifier was added to the RO-APM (mRO-APM) to account for the resources necessary to provide this care. Traditional Medicare FFS reimbursement rates were compared to the diagnosis-based reimbursement in the RO-APM. Reimbursement for all selected diagnoses were lower in the RO-APM compared to FFS, with the largest differences in the adaptive treatments for lung cancer (−89%) and pancreatic cancer (−83%). The total annual reimbursement discrepancy amounted to −78%. Without implementation of adaptive replanning there was no difference in reimbursement in breast, colorectal and prostate cancer between RO-APM and mRO-APM. Accommodating online adaptive treatments in the mRO-APM would result in a reimbursement difference from the FFS model of −47% for lung cancer and −46% for pancreatic cancer, mitigating the overall annual reimbursement difference to −54%. Even with adjustment, the implementation of MRgART as a new treatment strategy is susceptible under the RO-APM.

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