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Posted: February 12, 2011 5:43 p.m.

Rep. Woodall visitis local radiation therapy centers

U.S. District 7 Rep. Rob Woodall (R) recently toured Radiotherapy Centers of Georgia-Newton County to meet with physicians, care specialists, patients and family members and learn more about radiation therapy offerings in the area.

Members of Covington’s cancer care community discussed the key role community-based radiation therapy centers have in helping win the war against cancer, as well as the importance of a logical, predictable Medicare reimbursement policy to ensure continued access to state-of-the-art, quality cancer care in the community setting.

"It is wonderful to see this high level of care being delivered in our local community, especially in an area of health care such as this that is constantly evolving with new technologies," Woodall said.

Radiotherapy Centers is a free-standing radiation therapy center. Dr. Frederick Schnell is medical director of the facility.

Radiotherapy Centers of Georgia-Newton County’s physicians and staff said they need stable, predictable payments in order to ensure that cancer patients can access the full care and medicines recommended by their doctors, according to a release. In recent years, Medicare payments have been subject to numerous proposed payment reductions, on top of previously enacted federal Medicare cuts for all physician services. Members of the local cancer care community warn that deep additional cuts to radiation therapy services threaten patients’ access to life-saving cancer care. Additional payment reductions could potentially lead to forced facility closures and limited patient access to cutting-edge technologies, which could then result in worsened health outcomes.

Radiotherapy Centers of Georgia-Newton County provides more than 6,700 treatments annually and last year delivered care to 255 new patients diagnosed with prostate, breast and lung cancers and other life-threatening diseases. The center offers patients a variety of non-invasive radiation therapy services, with minimal side effects.

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