AFROC is a national membership organization founded in 1987 to promote the interests of freestanding radiation oncology centers. It is comprised of a network of physicians, physicists, administrators, and allied health care professionals who are dedicated to the provision of high quality cancer care in settings that are not owned or operated by hospitals, promoting cost-effective treatment in the context of the highest standard of care.
AFROC is the premier forum addressing private-practice issues unique to freestanding centers, and focuses its efforts on regulatory, legislative, and socioeconomic issues that affect non-hospital cancer centers. In particular, since its inception, AFROC has been singularly successful in representing freestanding radiation oncology centers before the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) with respect to Medicare payment issues affecting freestanding cancer centers:
Now, our members are facing new challenges, arising from new alternative payment models, episode-based payment, and hospital acquisitions. We urge you to become a member of AFROC—to help us help you face the challenges coming down the pike as the result of our transitioning healthcare system.
I am writing to you as President of the Association of Freestanding Radiation Oncology Centers (AFROC) to ask for your support in revitalizing the Association to represent the interests of freestanding radiation oncology centers. AFROC’s continued representation of freestanding centers over the coming year and beyond is critical in light of the challenges we currently face.
While Medicare payment for the technical component of radiation oncology centers has been essentially frozen through the end of 2019, it is anticipated that the Medicare program will reconsider substantial Medicare payment reductions that were put on hold when the freeze was enacted. At that time, it was anticipated that, by 2019, a voluntary episode-based payment demonstration program would be available to freestanding facilities as an alternative to Physician Fee Schedule rates—but no such demonstration program has materialized, nor does it appear likely to materialize in the near future, absent strong leadership from freestanding centers. AFROC needs your support to convince Congress to either further extend the freeze or to help design a workable alternative by the end of 2019.
In addition, we need AFROC to help steer us through the possible transition to episode-based payments. . In an RFI outlining its New Directions and in a Report to Congress, both issued in November of last year, the CMS Innovation Center (CMMI) made it clear that it is considering expanding a medical oncology focused demonstration project––the Oncology Care Model –to include radiation oncology episodes. The Oncology Care Model places medical oncologists at the center of cancer patient management and “at risk” financially for the provision of radiation oncology services. Yet, this model includes no requirement for clinical input from radiation oncologists. The potential expansion of this model in its current form to radiation oncology episodes has the potential to marginalize our specialty. AFROC has the expertise to help ensure that whatever episode based 1 payment model emerges for radiation oncology takes our needs into account.
Finally, AFROC is offering new and renewing members a number of unique membership benefits in 2019. Over the coming year, we will be offering four webinars that will be free to members on regulatory requirements and business issues of interest to freestanding centers. The annual meeting is to be held on April 18, 2019, with the very special attraction that this will be in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, providing a unique opportunity to see from the inside where policies develop that have a huge bearing on our ability to deliver cancer care to the community. In addition, members joining by June, 2019, will be entitled to a half hour consultation with AFROC's legal counsel on an issue of your choice, free of charge.
Over more than thirty years, AFROC has served as a highly effective representative of freestanding centers. I hope that you will join me in re-establishing AFROC as the highly effective proponent of our interests that it has always been. Join AFROC now to help assure the continued survival of freestanding radiation oncology centers as a vital component of the Nation’s cancer treatment capabilities.
Michael J. Katin, MD
Board of Directors
Michael J. Katin, MD, FACP, FACR, FACRO
President of the Board
Robert D. Hesselgesser, MD
Matthew W. Allen, MD
Dwight L. Fitch, MD
Linda A Filipczak, RN, BSN, MBA
Jeffrey D. Forman, MD, FACR
Laeton J. Pang, MD, FACR, FACRO
David J. Rice, MD
Randy D. Sorum, MD
Daniel A. Wattson, MD
Julie J. Zemanek
Shawn H. Zimberg, MD