American Academy of Family Physicians: Medicare group needs watchdog

November 19, 2010

The physician committee that advises the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on the valuation of physician work needs an outside group to ensure these rates fairly compensate all specialties, according to a letter to CMS from the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The physician committee that advises the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the valuation of physician work needs an outside group to ensure these rates fairly compensate all specialties, according to a letter to CMS from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).

The 29-member American Medical Association/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) meets annually to valuate codes on the CMS physician fee schedule. The group is made up of 23 medical specialties, including family and internal medicine.

"We acknowledge that the RUC has extensive expertise and a unique infrastructure and perspective that facilitate the valuation of codes under the Medicare physician fee schedule," writes AAFP chairwoman Lori Heim, MD. "However, we remain concerned that CMS continues to rely too heavily on the RUC in this regard."

"We would like to see a fundamental change in the composition of the RUC that more equitably recognizes the value of primary care," writes Heim.