What is RBRVS?

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What is RBRVS?
RBRVS stands for Resource-Based Relative Value Scale and it represents a scheme or standard to determine how much money is to be paid for the services of all medical providers in the US. This scheme is used by the Medicare and almost all HMOs or health maintenance organizations. This scheme is adapted to ensure that doctors are paid according to their expertise and specialties and also according to their geographic region.

The RBRVS scheme or computation puts a relative value for a specific medical procedure and this is multiplied by a fixed and pre-determined factor to come up with the total amount for payment to a particular doctor or any other medical provider. But relative values for specific procedures are adjusted based on geographic region to address differences in terms of the medical costs between rural and highly urbanized areas. In this case, a similar procedure done in a big city like Los Angeles will merit a bigger relative value when compared to smaller cities across the US. The conversion factor on the other hand is adjusted on an annual basis to be at level with current labor conditions and regulations.

There are three factors involved in determining the RBRVS. The physician or medical practitioner’s work comprises 52%, the practice expense represents 44% and 4% is allotted for malpractice expense or professional liability insurance. Practice expense or cost refers to the expenses incurred by medical practitioners not directly associated with the medical procedure done. These costs may include overhead expenses such as equipment, supplies, and office or clinic rentals among others.

The RBRVS came about as a result of years of studies by a team of researchers, doctors, statisticians, economists, and measurement specialists. The policies and guidelines of this system was implemented by 1992 and up to today, updates are continually evaluated to come up with the best scheme in determining doctors’ salaries.

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