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Study Finds AMA/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) Shows No Bias in Recommendations for Medicare Reimbursement Rates

This week, the National Bureau of Economic Research released the results of a study revealing that the AMA/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC), charged with making recommendations on how Medicare should value the prices of healthcare services, does not show favoritism toward certain medical fields. For years, there have been speculations that the RUC favors specialty care over primary care. However, David Chan, MD, PhD, a faculty fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and his colleague Michael Dickstein, PhD, from New York University, analyzed more than 4,000 fee proposals from a 21-year span to determine whether the RUC exhibits favoritism in their recommendations and found no such bias exists. Additionally, the study found that primary care doctors benefit significantly from shared interests with specialty physicians. For instance, many services primary care doctors conduct overlap with specialists, therefore Medicare reimbursement rates will impact them in similar ways.