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David M. Dunning and Thomas A. Paivanas

The Resource-Based Relative Value Scale (RBRVS) system instituted by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has lead to the implementation of a new financial analysis paradigm based on relative value units (RVUs). RVU-based financial tools have great potential to allow in-depth analysis of all components of the cancer care delivery system. Because all medical oncology practices must become conversant in RVU terminology and methodology, RVU-based financial tools will allow standardization and benchmarking for intra- and interpractice comparisons. Understanding this approach is essential for sound business management. The emotional and financial pressures facing the medical oncologist in private practice are enormous, with no real relief in sight. The complexity of managing the business of private practice oncology rivals that of managing the complexity of cancer care. With anticipated reductions in total net revenue per clinical treatment protocol per course of care, funds available for providers and their practices will be severely reduced. Only those practices with superlative RVU-based cost and revenue accounting systems will be able to prospectively and efficiently manage their businesses. Clearly, management of the Oncology Practice Econometric Model (OPEM) expense RVU or similar RVU-based data will be required for survival. The purpose of this article is to explore an RVU-based model to analyze the professional, infusion, and therapeutic components of contemporary cancer care.