WASHINGTONThe Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) has
backed off from plans to reduce Medicare payments for chemotherapy
agents administered in outpatient settings.
HCFA recommended that no changes be made until the physician fee
schedule is updated to reflect the true cost of chemotherapy
services. Currently, physicians and cancer centers are underpaid for
the costs of administering chemotherapy and, Medicare contends,
overpaid for the cost of the drugs.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) led the fight to
prevent any reductions in Medicare payments for chemotherapy agents.
We would like to acknowledge HCFAs willingness to work
with the cancer community on this important issue, ASCO
president Lawrence H. Einhorn, MD, said in a statement. We are
pleased that HCFA has agreed to postpone any action until they can
further study this matter. We intend to work with HCFA as they
undertake the important task of updating the physician fee schedule