Saturday, February 5, 2011

AMA response to "Outing the RUC"

In general, I do not post comments regarding "Comments" posted to my blog. I appreciate them, would encourage you to post them and will reply personally if asked and given an email address, but the nature of a blog does not really encourage dialogue among readers. This is because once you have read a post, you are unlikely to come back and check to see if there are any "comments" posted that you might wish to comment further on.

I am making an exception in this case to call attention to the comment from the American Medical Association.
They indicate that "The entire premise of this column is false." They note that "The RUC often recommends increases for primary care services; RUC recommendations have resulted in $4 billion in annual increased payments for office and hospital visits – the most common services performed by a primary care physician." I note that this is not entirely responsive; while the "office and hospital visits" are the most common services provided by primary care physicians, they are also provided by many subspecialists, and we don't know what % has gone to PCPs vs. subspecialists, nor do they indicate what % of Medicare physician payments $4billion is. The sources of my information are cited; also the data in the graphic showing that the ratio of subspecialists to PCPs is INCREASING, not DECREASING, is the important point. Indeed, the graphic here, from the recently-released 20th report of the Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME) shows that this definitely affects entry into primary care.
Please add your comments if you wish.

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