ASTRO physician volunteers and staff attend three in-person meetings of the CPT Editorial Panel per year, in addition to time spent throughout the year planning and drafting CPT code change proposals. These code change proposals are discussed and revised in depth at the CPT meetings before they are accepted into the CPT code set and implemented the following year.
Following the creation of any new or revised codes, a separate process of assigning reimbursement values for the codes begins. This process is known as the AMA/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) process. Radiation oncologists can play a significant role in informing the RUC of the practice expense costs associated with the codes by completing surveys sent by ASTRO requesting information on practice expense costs.
Recent changes to the radiation oncology CPT code set involve updates to the brachytherapy codes in 2016, which included the creation of seven new codes for HDR interstitial or intracavitary, skin surface and electronic brachytherapy. In 2015 the radiation oncology code set underwent major revisions to the treatment delivery and image guidance codes.
Learn more about how the process works and how you can get involved from this recent article in the SROA newsletter. More information on ASTRO coding resources is available here.