2019 RVUs and you!

What are the RVUs for allergy codes?

Relative Value Units (RVUs) for each code are published annually on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) website. The College’s Advocacy Council put together a spreadsheet comparing reimbursement for 2019 work RVUs versus 2018, all listed by CPT code (column F).

Check out 2019 RVUs

You can also view specific allergy codes or RVUs for all CPT codes.

Column J lists the total RVUs for the code (all three components) when performed in the physician office setting. When a service is performed in the hospital setting (e.g., the hospital outpatient department or hospital-based clinic), the RVUs are reduced because the practice expense portion of the service is considered to be provided by the hospital (see column K). The RVUs are multiplied by the dollar conversion factor - $36.04 for 2019 - and geographic adjustment factor. Go to your Medicare Administrative Contractor’s website to obtain your specific geographic multiplier.

RVU background

RVUs were developed by CMS about 30 years ago in response to congressional legislation to establish the relative value of physician services. There are three components to RVUs:

  • Physician work
  • Practice expense
  • Professional liability insurance

RVUs are used more and more by health systems for determining physician compensation. The Advocacy Council has seen an increase in questions on how to determine RVUs for services allergists provide.

How are RVUs calculated?

Of most interest to allergists are the physician work RVUs, because this is what health systems and employers often use in their compensation plans. The American Medical Association’s Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) proposes RVUs based on specialty society surveys and provides recommendations to CMS for consideration. CMS decides whether they will accept the RUCs recommendations.

Advocacy Issue: 
Billing, Coding & Payments