I’ve been traveling in Europe, including giving a talk at the Salzburg Global Seminar on involving and informing patients in healthcare decisions. In that presentation, I talked about promotion of a newer form of cancer radiation therapy called intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
So I want to point out that while I’ve been away the Wall Street Journal published an important piece on this very topic under the headline “A Device to Kill Cancer, Lift Revenue.” An excerpt:
Roughly one in three Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with prostate cancer today gets a sophisticated form of radiation therapy called IMRT. Eight years ago, virtually no patients received the treatment.
The story behind the sharp rise in the use of IMRT—which stands for intensity-modulated radiation therapy—is about more than just the rapid adoption of a new medical technology. It’s also about financial incentives.
Taking advantage of an exemption in a federal law governing patient referrals, groups of urologists across the country have teamed up with radiation oncologists to capture the lucrative reimbursements IMRT commands from Medicare.
*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*