On Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 9pm Eastern Time, the President of the American Academy of Family Physicians, Glen Stream, MD, will be appearing on the Family Medicine Rocks podcast. The topic will be AAFP's recent decision regarding the RUC.
According to an article on the AAFP website from March 13, 2012: "After much debate, the AAFP Board of Directors has decided that the Academy will continue to participate in the AMA/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) for now, while continuing to advocate that changes be made to the RUC from within."
For my readers who may not be familiar with this story (especially those who do not work in medicine), the RUC is a panel of experts who make recommendations to Medicare with regard to payment of certain services. Family Physicians, like those in the AAFP, have expressed concern that the RUC is biased toward specialists and non primary care physicians. Many believe this is one of the many reasons why specialists are paid more than primary care physicians.
Last summer, the AAFP sent a letter to RUC to make changes in the composition of the committee to try to lessen the bias toward specialists. Following the release of this letter, many AAFP members were urging the Academy to walk away from the RUC - especially if the requested changes were not met. Last month, the RUC did make some changes, but certainly not all the changes that were requested.
Some have called the RUC changes "Slight of Hand" and urged the AAFP to walk away from the RUC. On March 13, 2012, the AAFP announced that they were remaining in the RUC. I encourage you to check out the comment section of this article, of course, some favoring AAFP's decision and some questioning AAFP's decision. I imagine that this type of dialogue is taking place across the country.
Last week, I was contacted by AAFP to ask whether I would be interested in talking with Dr. Stream regarding AAFP's decision to remain in the RUC. Our schedules could not match this week, but we were able to agree upon March 27, 2012 at 9pm Eastern Time. You will be able to listen to our chat live at this link which is my podcast site.
I encourage readers of this blog post to submit questions and to leave feedback in the comment section below with regard to AAFP's decision to remain in the RUC and Dr. Stream's recent commentary called "We're Changing Our Approach to the RUC." I will choose the best questions and ask them on the air. I will not be taking any call in questions the night of the podcast.
I think this is a HUGE step for the American Academy of Family Physicians to utilize social media in a way that they have never done before. I'm honored that Dr. Stream, whom I have never met in real life (yet), and the AAFP, reached out to me for this opportunity to chat about a knowingly controversial Academy topic. Please submit questions and feedback below so, at least, I can get a sense of what people are thinking out there on this important health policy issue....