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ASPS Launches RUC Surveys

ASPS will be conducting several American Medical Association Relative Value Scale Update Committee (AMA RUC) surveys in the coming weeks. These surveys will be randomly circulated to ASPS members.

Your Input is Critical

If you receive a survey and you perform the procedures described, it is critically important that members complete the survey. We ask that you complete it carefully, spending the necessary time to complete the questionnaire in its entirety. Your thoughtful input will help us assess the physician work involved in performing the service and will help us defend the values assigned to the procedure codes.

To learn more about the survey process, check out the FAQs below.

Data collected from completed surveys will be analyzed by ASPS staff and physician volunteers. Recommendations will be presented at an upcoming RUC meeting.

If you choose not to complete the survey, please let ASPS staff know so they can send the survey to another member.

FAQs - RUC Survey Process

Q. What is the purpose of a RUC Survey?

A. The survey is designed to obtain estimates of the amount of physician work and time required to provide a service. Your responses help us obtain an estimate of the recommended work relative value unit (RVU) for the procedure.

Q. Will my response be anonymous?

A. Yes. Although the survey instrument asks for your contact information, the information is only used if we need additional information about a particular survey response or if we receive an incomplete submission. Your personal information is never forwarded to the AMA or used for tracking purposes.

Q. How long does it take to complete a survey?

A. Set aside at least 30 minutes for a RUC survey. You will be answering seven questions in this survey.

  • The first question will prompt you to define your "typical" patient.
    • A vignette of a "typical" patient is included in the survey. You may perform the procedure on a patient different than this, however it is important that you complete the survey with the vignette's description of a "typical" patient in mind.
  • The second question will determine any conflicts you might have.
  • The third question asks you to pick a "reference" code that is similar to the code being surveyed
    • We recommend you print the entire reference service list to have on hand as you complete the survey. Select a procedure from the list that you believe is most similar in time and work to the code being surveyed. The reference code does not need to be a procedure that you perform regularly, nor does it need to be equal in work to the code being surveyed.
  • The fourth question is designed to help identify the time it takes to perform the service
  • The fifth question is designed to help you compare other aspects of the code under survey against the reference procedure.
  • The sixth question asks if moderate sedation is typically used during the procedure.
  • The seventh question asks you to estimate the relative value unit for the service.

Q. I did not receive a request to participate in the survey. Can I volunteer?

A. ASPS sends surveys to a random sample of members, based on the practice type indicted in membership profiles. We recommend you review your member profile on the Plastic Surgery.org website on a yearly basis, and update your account as your practice matures and grows.

Q. I have started the survey, but can't complete it at this time. What do I do?

A. You can save the survey and return to it at a later time. Please be sure to complete the survey before the deadline.

Q. When is the survey deadline?

A. The survey deadline is Friday, November 25, 2016. You will not be able to submit responses after that time because the ASPS staff will need time to analyze the data before it can be submitted to the AMA.

Q. Can I work with my colleagues to complete the survey?

A. The survey should be completed independently, without coaching or assistance, except when seeking clarification from specialty society staff. If you are inappropriately contacted regarding this survey, please notify specialty staff immediately.

Q. With regards to conflicts, what constitutes a "financial ownership interest"?

A. Any entity that makes or distributes a product that is utilized in performing the service being surveyed.

Q. What is a reference code?

A. Every RUC survey includes services that have been selected for use as comparison codes. Most of the codes in the list have similar work or time involved.

Q. What is included in Pre-Service time?

A. This includes any services provided by the physician the day before the procedure up to and until the time of the procedure. It may include review of records, communications with other professionals, and obtaining consent for the procedure. It also includes the time to dress, scrub and wait before the procedure, and any time spent positioning the patient or equipment for the procedure.

Q. What is included in "intra-service" time?

A. The intra-service time period includes all skin to skin work that is a necessary part of the service.

Q. What is included in post-operative time?

A. Any services provided on the day of the procedure by the physician after the procedure has been performed, including the completion of written orders or counseling to the patient and caregivers.

Q. Do I count the time my staff spends providing instructions to the patient towards pre-service, intra-service, or post-service work?

A. This survey measures physician work only. The AMA defines physician work as:

  • Physician time it takes to perform a service
  • Physician mental effort and judgment
  • Physician technical skill and physical effort
  • Physician psychological stress that occurs when an adverse outcome has serious consequences

Physician work does not include services provided by support staff that are employed by your practice and cannot bill separately for their work.

Q. Who can I speak with at ASPS if I have questions about the survey?

A. Contact Catherine French via email at cfrench@plasticsurgery.org or by phone at 847-981-5401.