ACP commends CMS proposals to increase values assigned to evaluation and management codes

Washington -- The American College of Physicians (ACP) today commended the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on its Wednesday, June 21st proposal to increase the work relative value units (RVUs) assigned to the Medicare Evaluation and Management (E/M) codes.

"There's no doubt that these work RVU increases are appropriate and necessary," said J. Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, FACP, the ACP representative to the Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) an entity that makes recommendations to CMS on relative values. "The physician work involved in furnishing these services has increased significantly in the last 10 years."

Medicare law requires CMS to assess the accuracy of the relative values it assigns to physician services every five years. CMS last changed the work RVUs assigned to the E/M services in 1997. ACP, recognizing that many E/M services were valued too low because of changes in patient characteristics and physician practice, asked CMS in Jan. 2005 to include the E/M codes in this "Five-Year Review." The College was joined in its request by internal medicine subspecialty groups and other organizations that represent cognitive-oriented physicians. CMS agreed, incorporating the following codes in the Five-Year Review:

New patient office visits Established patient office visits
Initial hospital care services Subsequent hospital care services
Hospital discharge services Office consultations
Inpatient consultations Emergency department services
Critical care services

CMS then asked the RUC, made up of physicians appointed by major specialty organizations, to make a recommendation on the appropriate work RVU for the E/M and the other services the agency included in the Five-Year Review. The ACP-led coalition worked with the RUC for about a year considering national survey data and other information compiled by government and physician-specialty organizations to determine the

Contact: David Kinsman
American College of Physicians

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