Thursday, December 20, 2007
A Managed Care CEO Takes a Closer Look at the RUC
We have posted frequently, most recently here and here, about the RBRVS Update Committee's (RUC) responsibility for Medicare's relatively poor reimbursement of primary care and other "cognitive" physicians' services compared to procedures. Although the AMA claims that the RUC is just an "expert panel," it appears de facto to be the only source of input to Medicare about how to revise physicians' reimbursement. However, rather than operating transparently so as to represent the views of at least the broad physician community, the committee's proceedings are secret, as are the names of its current members, who mainly represent surgical sub-specialties. Concern about the RUC has been more evident in the blogsphere, if not openly anywhere else. Most recently, the issue was noted on the Let's Talk Health Care blog, by none other than the CEO of Harvard Pilgrim managed care organization. Maybe now there is just a little momentum to take a closer look at how Medicare sets physician reimbursement, and maybe to develop a more transparent and accountable method of doing so that represents the interests of all physicians and all patients.