The Korean spinal neurosurgery society; Are we reimbursed properly for spinal neurosurgical practices under the Korean Resource Based Relative Value Scale service?

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Objectives: The Korean Resource Based Relative Value Scale (K-RBRVS) was introduced in 2001 as an alternative of the previous medical fee schedule. Unfortunately, most neurosurgeons are unfamiliar with the details of the K-RBRVS and how it affects the reimbursement rates for the surgical procedures we perform. We summarize the K-RBRVS in brief, and discuss on how the relative value (RV) of the spinal neurosurgical procedures have changed since the introduction in 2001. Methods: We analyzed the change of spinal procedure RVs since 2001, and compared it with the change of values in the brain neurosurgical procedures. RVs of 88 neurospinal procedures on the list of K-RBRVS were analyzed, while 24 procedures added during annual revisions were excluded. Results: During the past 15 years, RVs for spinal procedures have increased 62.8%, which is not so different with the cumulative increase of consumer prices during this time period or the increase rate of 92.3% for brain surgeries. When comparing the change of RVs in more complex procedures between spinal and brain neurosurgery, the increase rate was 125.3% and 133%, respectively. Conclusion: More effort of the society of spinal surgeons seems to be needed to get adequate reimbursement, as there have been some discrimination compared to brain surgeons in the increase of RVs. And considering the relative underestimation of spinal neurosurgeons′ labor, more objective measures of neurospinal surgeons′ work and productivity should be developed for impartial reimbursement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-53
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Korean Neurosurgical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1



  • Korean resource based relative value scale
  • Medical fee schedule
  • Neurosurgery
  • Reimbursement
  • Relative value

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology

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