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ASA Expresses Concern to CMS Over Rejection of RUC Recommendations

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

ASA joined a group of surgical organizations in expressing deep concern with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) rejection of a greater number of the American Medical Association/Specialty Society Resource Based Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) recommendations in the 2011 Medicare physician fee schedule final rule. 

In the joint letter, the organizations said, “The undersigned medical societies are writing to express our concern about CMS's interim values for physician work for surgical specialty medical services, as published in the final 2011 Medicare physician fee schedule. CMS rejected a larger than average number of recommendations of the American Medical Association/Specialty Society Resource Based Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC), for reasons which are very unclear to us. We strongly urge you to accept the values that were developed and approved by the RUC as the appropriate, final values.”

The letter goes on to praise the RUC process, “The rigorous RUC evaluation process has been used to establish relative values for physician work under the Resource-Based Relative Value Scale (RBRVS) since 1992. Historically, CMS has accepted over 90 percent of the RUC’s recommendations. In the 2011 Fee Schedule however, CMS only accepted 71 percent of the 291 recommendations submitted by the RUC, and only 2/3 of the 2010 five-year review recommendations were accepted in 2011. While we understand that CMS has intensified its scrutiny of the work valuations of codes, CMS’ decisions must be made using a transparent consistent process, and must be based on credible data.”

The American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Association of Neurological Surgeons, American College of Osteopathic Surgeons, American College of Surgeons, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics, American Society of Anesthesiologists, American Society of Plastic Surgeons, American Urological Association and Congress of Neurological Surgeons signed the letter.

Click here to read the letter. 



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