move to Practice Expense Relative Value Units created clear
winners and losers among physician specialties, according
to a new report by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission.
total payments dropped 4 percent as a result of PE-RVUs,
and pathologists, radiologists and thoracic surgeons each
lost 3 percent. Meanwhile, dermatologists gained a whopping
5 percent from the shift, which was phased in over four
years starting in 1999.
Medicare assignment rates didn't drop, and beneficiaries
appeared to experience no serious problems in obtaining
access to physician services, MedPAC notes.
second report, MedPAC said it was hard to tell whether the
growth in volume of physician spending was improving the
health of beneficiaries.
new technologies did add to the growth of physician spending,
only 0.33 percent of total physician expenditures per year
was associated with new codes. MedPAC said clear data on
how new laws and regulations affected the growth in physician
spending was hard to come by, because the Centers for Medicare
& Medicaid Services needs more transparency.