MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - Georgia congressman Austin Scott was in middle Georgia today to discuss the value of life-saving radiation therapy in community-based centers around the state.
Scott toured Radiation Oncology Services of America's Macon facility on Coliseum Drive this afternoon.
He spoke with Dr. Sean Cavanaugh about the important role the centers play within the community in helping those with cancer.
Dr. Cavanaugh says doctors are worried that impending cuts to the healthcare industry could cause some of those centers to close down.
"Some of the things we're facing are facilities in rural areas that are viable and healthy now, but with some of the impending cuts coming to Medicare reimbursement, some of these centers will be non-viable," says Dr. Cavanaugh, a radiation oncologist. "And we just want to make sure that everyone in Washington knows that our citizens are gonna have to drive into the city for healthcare if these centers close down."
Congressman Scott, whose father is a physician himself, says the visit was all about taking concerns back to Washington.
"We talked a lot about making sure that we keep facilities open in the rural areas," says Rep. Scott (R) Georgia, 8th District. "And we talked, quite honestly, about the cost of healthcare and the fact that a lot of the things that are going on in Washington are actually increasing the cost of healthcare and gonna make it less available to the general public because of those increased costs coming out of Washington."
Dr. Cavanaugh says if small-town facilities like the ones in Hawkinsville, Tifton, and Cochran have to close down, patients will be forced to drive long distances to receive the care they need, something he says many of his patients won't be able to afford since they see him every day.
After drastic reimbursement cuts proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) for cancer radiation services, Representative Scott recently signed a House letter (Pitts-Pallone) sent to Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, expressing serious concern with the $300 million that would be slashed from freestanding radiation oncology practices nationwide.