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Invited Commentary
July 17, 2019

Need for More Objective Data to Determine Relative Value Units for Surgical Effort

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Surgery, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Torrance, California
JAMA Surg. 2019;154(10):922. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2019.2319

How should a surgeon’s time in the operating room be compensated? Based on the complexity of the procedure? The risk? The length of the operation? What if the procedure is extremely complex or high risk but is of short duration? Should such a case have a higher relative value than a long but low-risk procedure? These are but a few of the controversies related to relative value units (RVUs), the current basis for payment for surgeons’ services by Medicare and other third-party payers.

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