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TEXAS FAMILY PHYSICIAN
news from aafp
AAFP addresses RUC subcommittee regarding changes the Academy seeks AAFP Board Chair: ‘We’ve presented our case’ By Sheri Porter
• create three new seats to represent outside entities, such as consumers, employers, health systems, and health plans; • add an additional seat to represent the specialty of geriatrics; • eliminate the three current rotating subspecialty seats when the current representatives’ terms expire; and • implement voting transparency.
aafp board chair Roland Goertz, M.D., M.B.A., of Waco, Texas, hopped a plane to Chicago recently to take the Academy’s argument for changes to the AMA/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee, better known as the RUC, straight to the group’s administrative subcommittee. Earlier this summer, the Academy called In addition to Goertz, three other Academy on the RUC to make some very specific members took part in the recent Chicago meetchanges to its structure, process and proceing: Walter Larimore, M.D., of Monument, dures. After receiving the AAFP’s June 10 letColo.,who currently serves as the AAFP’s ter, the RUC invited the Academy to further representative to the RUC; explain its position. Lee Mills, M.D., of Newton, Goertz spoke with AAFP who is the alternate News Now shortly after his “Without telling Kan., representative; and Thomas Sept. 22 presentation to the the RUC exactly Weida, M.D., of Hershey, RUC subcommittee. He Pa., who is the AAFP’s RUC called the meeting “a positive which path to adviser. exchange of information.” take, I think we None of the family phy“I was allowed to make sicians in attendance was a statement to clarify our have made our able to provide any detail request,” said Goertz, addcase. Now it’s about the meeting’s proing that his 10-minute preup to them.” ceedings because of the sentation was followed by RUC’s stringent confidentia 50-minute question-andRoland A. Goertz, ality agreements. answer session. However, Goertz did say “Without telling the RUC M.D., M.B.A. he was “cordially received” exactly which path to take, I by the subcommittee memthink we have made our case. bers and that each of the Academy’s five issues Now it’s up to them,” said Goertz. was addressed. “On every issue, there were The RUC acts as an expert panel and questions related to clarifications, which I did makes recommendations to CMS on the relmy best to provide,” said Goertz. ative values of CPT codes, which determine “When they excused me from the room, what physicians are paid for the services they they began the serious deliberation of deliver to patients. The Academy and other the five requests that we made of them,” primary care physician organizations have Goertz said, adding that even though he made no secret of their belief that decisions doesn’t anticipate a formal answer to the made by the RUC favor subspecialist procerequests immediately, “I do have every readures rather than preventive care and chronson to believe that they will answer our reic disease management services. quest by the March (1, 2012) date we have The AAFP’s stance was summed up in given them.” that June letter to RUC Chair Barbara Levy, Regarding the Academy’s next move, Goertz M.D., in which the Academy made five spesaid, “I don’t believe that there are any other cific requests, asking the committee to: action steps that we can take at this time. “We’ve done everything that is reasonable • add four true primary care seats—one to make our case, and, at least to this point, each for AAFP, the American Academy of we’ve been heard.” Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, and the American Osteopathic Source: AAFP News Now, Sept. 26, 2011. © 2011 Association; American Academy of Family Physicians.
The fall 2011 edition of the quarterly magazine of the Texas Academy of Family Physicians