Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Ruckus over RUC

Over at the other site, I just put up something with a few snarks directed at the AMA.
Immediately after firing it off, I found yet another reason to be annoyed at this organization.

One of my heroes among the physician/health writers is Roy Poses.

The AMA has been brow-beating Dr. Poses lately and their behavior in this matter seems outrageous.

For a nice example of the good work at Gooznews on Health, we have:

RUCkus Over Physician Pay

by GoozNews ~ 10 Jun 2009 04:55pm

Too many specialists, not enough primary care physicians. For lots of observers of the health care scene, the greater financial rewards that accrue to procedure-oriented specialists lies at the heart of the health care cost crisis (for a good discussion of the physician pay issue, see this morning's column by Washington Post writer Steve Pearlstein).

One issue Pearlstein didn't address (nor did Atul Gawanda in his much-discussed New Yorker article that even President Obama has taken to quoting) is the obscure committee of the American Medical Association that establishes the relative value of physician pay. Want to know why primary care docs earn on average $160,000 a year while any self-respecting radiologist can organize his practice to generate $500,000 a year in income or more? Just ask the folks at the AMA's Resource Based Relative Value System Update Committee (whew, there's a mouthful), unaffectionately known as the RUC.

Actually, maybe you'd better not ask the folks at the RUC, because they may not take kindly to what you write or say about them, which is what Roy Poses of the Health Care Renewal blog discovered after he wrote about it last February. In today's update, Dr. Poses discloses that the folks at the AMA demanded a retraction for his efforts to expose the inner workings of the RUC. Then they failed to respond to his queries about what exactly he had misrepresented in his original posts.

To learn more about the ruckus over RUC, read Dr. Poses' posts. He's quite eloquent on the topic.

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