HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Childers CP, Tang AB, Maggard-Gibbons M. Association of implicit intensity values incorporated into work RVUs with objective measures. American journal of surgery. 2019 Sep 24.
The "intensity" of a surgical procedure is supposed to be incorporated into work RVUs to allow higher compensation rates for more complex procedures. However, updates to work RVUs are subjective and it is unclear if these intensity values correlate to objective measures of a procedure''s complexity.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data were used to calculate intraservice intensity values for CPT codes in 2017 ("CMS intensity values"). Twenty-six objective measures- spanning patient, case, and risk characteristics - were generated using the 2017 participant use file from NSQIP. CMS intensity values were compared to objective measures using scatterplots and correlations.
Among 473 CPT codes, CMS intensity values ranged from 0.0031 to 0.142 work RVUs/minute. CMS intensity values were positively associated with 3 objective measures, negatively associated with 5 measures, and not associated with the remaining 18 measures.
Despite intensity values - and therefore compensation rates - varying over 40-fold in the wRVU scale, there was generally no association between their magnitude and objective measures of surgical intensity.