ASTRO 2012 Recap: A Vendor's Perspective

By, Greg Bare

ASTRO’s 2012 annual meeting started with much anticipation. The show took place in one of the great American cities – Boston. The ASTRO 2012 meeting was significant because it represented the last year before massive healthcare reform takes effect. It was ironic that ASTRO coincided with Hurricane Sandy, which some attendees believed to be a harbinger of things to come in healthcare.

While at the Omni Parker House, our team really had a chance to absorb Boston’s history and charm. We were a short walk from many famous sights such as the old city hall and the location of the Boston Massacre.

The time at the 2012 ASTRO show was limited due to Hurricane Sandy. The storm was so severe, the folks at ASTRO shut down the convention for half the second day. We did manage to get some good socializing in at a local pub throwing an unofficial “hurricane party”! Unfortunately, we missed the opportunity to meet with a few of our friends and clients as many flights were cancelled.

At the show many attendees were anxiously awaiting the feedback from CMS. One vendor even went as far to dress as a werewolf to express his dissatisfaction with the impending cuts. The ROS team led a petition to “Fight Back” against cuts with a last-minute petition drive.

Whatever each of us did to contribute, we managed to stave off cuts for another year. With this in mind, we are not out of the woods. It is reasonable to assume a continued downward pressure for radiation therapy reimbursement in the coming years. It is up to us to use this time wisely to prepare for the future in order to preserve community cancer centers.

In this issue, we showcase a good friend and client, Dr. David Jones, who has enhanced patient care and accessibility through the development of cost-effective cancer centers in rural Texas. We encourage you to read Dr. Jones’ comments, and to focus on what you can do to create sustainable radiation oncology practices in all areas of the country. This way we can all continue to serve those patients who depend on these services.

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