17 - Reductions in Reimbursement and RVUs for Interventional Radiology Procedures Compared to Other Specialties: 2011-2021
W. S. Lindquester, C. M. Hawkins, R. Dhangana
Purpose: To compare trends in reimbursement and relative value units (RVUs) for interventional radiology (IR) procedures to those performed by other physician specialties from 2011-2021.
Material and Methods: Reimbursement and RVU values were obtained from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Physician Fee Schedule tool for the years 2011 to 2021. Twenty-eight common IR procedures were compared to different surgical and minimally invasive procedures performed by other specialties for the same or similar indications.
Results: Work RVU decreased for twenty of twenty-eight (71.4%) IR procedures compared to seven of twenty-eight (25%) procedures performed by other specialties from 2011-2021.
The average change in total reimbursement for IR procedures was -5.0% compared to 0.4% for all other specialties. The average change in work RVU was -1.9% compared to -0.2%. The average change in practice expense RVU was -17.1% compared to -11.6%. The average change in malpractice RVU was -7.3% compared to 5.7%. The differences were more drastic when compared to general surgery and its subspecialties which experienced changes of 4.4%, 3.3%, -7.3%, and 12.5% in reimbursement, work RVU, practice expense RVU, and malpractice RVU respectively.
Conclusions: IR procedures had higher reductions in RVUs relative to other specialties, particularly surgery. This resulted in more drastic declines in reimbursement and RVU valuation from 2011 to 2021. Interventional radiologists can use knowledge of this discrepancy in development of future payment policy.