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The AMA's RUC and Why It Is Important to You

June 12, 2018

The American Medical Association (AMA) has an expert panel called the Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC), which advocates for accurate valuation of all physician services. The RUC is composed of representatives from national medical associations, including the AMA; Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS); Correct Procedural Coding (CPT); and the Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee (HCPAC). The RUC evaluates information presented and makes recommendations to CMS regarding the relative value of physician services and direct practice expenses for new and revised CPT codes.

As a part of the RUC process, you may receive a request to participate in a survey aimed at gathering estimates from clinicians on the physician work component of the total RVU, which is composed of three major categories: physician work, practice expense and professional liability insurance. CMS uses the total relative value units to set payment rates under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. Physician work includes the time it takes to perform the service, technical skill and physical effort, required mental effort and judgment, and stress due to the potential risk to the patient.

If you receive a request from SNMMI to participate in an AMA RUC survey, it is imperative that you participate so your voice can be heard. Note, though the survey will collect basic practice and contact information, these data will not be forwarded to the AMA or used for tracking purposes. A specialty society contact will be listed on the survey should you have questions or require technical assistance.

For more information on RUC surveys, view the AMA’s video “Understanding the RUC Survey Instrument--Physician Services without a Global Period (XXX-Global).”