A Health Affairs Study on Medicare Spending and the RUC

Chris Fleming

Posted 5/7/12 on the Health Affairs Blog

©2012 Health Affairs by Project HOPE – The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.

To calculate physicians’ fees under Medicare—which in turn influence private payers’ decisions on how they will pay doctors—the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) relies on the recommendations of a controversial advisory panel known as the RUC (the Relative Value Update Committee), which mainly represents a broad group of national physicians’ organizations. In recent years physicians in primary care have expressed concerns that this committee has too little representation from their ranks and is partly responsible for increasing the pay gap between primary care providers and specialists. Other research has shown that increases in physician service prices brought about by committee recommendations contribute to increased costs of services used by Medicare enrollees.

Continue reading “A Health Affairs Study on Medicare Spending and the RUC”

Remembering Barbara Starfield: A Primary Care Champion

Chris Fleming

First published 6/13/11 on the Health Affairs Blog

Copyright ©2011 Health Affairs by Project HOPE – The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.

Barbara Starfield, a seminal figure in the health services research community who made landmark contributions in primary care and other areas, died suddenly on Friday, June 10, of an apparent heart attack.

Health Affairs extends its deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Dr. Starfield. To help honor Dr. Starfield’s career, Health Affairs is providing free access until June 28 to the full texts of the articles she has authored and coauthored in the journal, discussed below.

Starfield was a Distinguished Professor in the Departments of Health Policy and Management and Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University Schools of Public Health and Medicine. She was also Director of the Johns Hopkins University Primary Care Policy Center. Starfield, a member of the Institute of Medicine, was the author of two landmark books regarding primary care: Primary Care: Concept, Evaluation, and Policy and Primary Care: Balancing Health Needs, Services, and Technology. She was the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

Continue reading “Remembering Barbara Starfield: A Primary Care Champion”