RUC to Review TEE Codes

By David Wiener posted 09-06-2012 14:10


Dear ASE members,

The Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) is considering reviewing the TEE family code. These codes have not been valued since 1995 and have never been reviewed by the RUC.  Although the list of codes for review is very lengthy, with the passage of the TAVR code a spike in TEE utilization is expected which will probably attract the RUC’s attention and move this family of codes up the list.

There is compelling evidence that these codes are undervalued, however there is the possibility that the RUC will still reduce the payment rates, especially in this era where CMS is looking to reduce costs and is actively seeking to make cuts.

 ASE is committed to proactively defending these codes and address the role of TEE as it applies to the TAVR procedure.  Several Advocacy Committee members have volunteered for a workgroup tasked with appropriately identifying the reimbursements rates for all the TEE codes and establishing a TEE TAVR code and developing a TEE code in support of interventional procedures.

As this process moves forward ASE may reach out to members to collect data to be able to present compelling recommendations to the RUC. Eventually the AMA will conduct a survey to establish the value of these codes. ASE physician members may receive surveys which ask them to answer questions to help determine reimbursement values for their services. The physician work surveys must be completed by US based physicians.  The survey will ask for an estimate in the time, work and complexity required to perform specific. If you receive a survey, PLEASE take this responsibility seriously!