In the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule for 2012 released last November, CMS mandates that codes for brain CT, brain MRI, cervical spine MRI, and lumbar spine MRI must all be presented to the AMA Relative Value Scale Update Committee (the “RUC”) for review in the next year or so. At this review, the RUC will either propose new RVUs for these procedures or recommend that CMS should maintain the current RVUs, based upon survey results and subspecialty input. This is the highest number of neuroradiology codes and the most important collection of codes to be presented in recent memory. The outcome could impact the future of our specialty. Yet, the ASNR will not be able to participate in the discussion without your immediate help.
Please join the AMA by logging onto http://www.ama-assn.org/go/join, and tell your partners, friends, and colleagues who are ASNR Senior members to do so as well. Otherwise, we will lose our ability to participate in the AMA valuation process and will have to rely on other specialties to present these codes. The review of these codes will take place with or without ASNR representation. The only question is whether the ASNR will have a seat at the table. The ASNR is audited for participation of its Senior membership in the AMA and currently falls below the target threshold, despite sending a recent desperate plea to our membership. The audit occurs only once every five years, with the next audit scheduled for April 15th of this year.
Whatever your views of the AMA or your reasons for hesitation, refusing to join only hurts you and your colleagues in radiology. The price of membership approximates the professional revenue of a handful of the codes under consideration. The ASNR has a proud history as one of the first and most active radiology subspecialty societies at the RUC, and has a team of dedicated volunteer physicians and staff who have devoted years learning the nuances of code valuation, building trusted reputations, and developing key relationships with other participants in the process. It is nearly inconceivable that we might have to be excluded from the process at the very time that our most crucial codes are coming under scrutiny.
Please use the link shown above to join the AMA immediately. Once you submit your application, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org letting us know if you join or are already a member and plan to renew, so that we can closely monitor our membership status with the AMA. If you are a current AMA member, it is equally important to renew your AMA membership for 2012.
Thank you in advance for helping the ASNR to continue to represent our subspecialty effectively.
David B. Hackney, M.D.
Robert M. Barr, M.D.
ASNR Chair, Clinical Practice Committee