Our first day at ASTRO 2016 (American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology) was a very successful one. We had the opportunity to present our technology and to field questions from attendees of the conference. One theme that continued throughout the day was hyperthermia reimbursement. What we learned; patient outcomes were still essential to physicians, but it's all about the RVUs.
Doctors’ time and energy are not always measured in lives saved, and patient wellness. Now they need to devote part of their busy days on managing RVUs. Relative Value Units are a measure of value used in the United States Medicare reimbursement formula for physician services. RVUs are part of the system Medicare uses to decide how much it will reimburse physicians for each of the 9,000-plus services and procedures covered under its Physician Fee Schedule, and which are assigned current procedural terminology (CPT) code numbers. A well patient visit, for example, would be assigned a lower RVU than an invasive surgical procedure.
Hyperthermia is a non-invasive treatment that increases the patients' chances of beating cancer. How does Hyperthermia play in the RVU system? What we learned is that hospitals and cancer centers need to be competitive to attract new patients. Although it has been clinically proven that hyperthermia treatment improves cancer outcomes, it is not in every hospital and cancer center. And limited resource creates higher demand. Centers need to attract patients outside of the facility's geographic radius to stay in business.
“Speaking with our Pyrexar installed base in the US, we are finding patients are requesting hyperthermia and traveling outside their local cancer centers to receive treatment,” says Mark Kidd, VP Sales at Pyrexar. “Bringing in patients by offering the latest in cancer technology means more revenue for the center.