Monday, January 14, 2008

Maggie Mahar Takes on the RUC

We have posted frequently, most recently here, 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 Health Beat blog. Blogger Maggie Mahar recapped the history of the RUC, discussed how its machinations boost fees paid for procedures at the expense of other Medicare spending, particularly for primary care, and suggested the need for an entirely different way to reimburse physicians

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