Physicians being billed for CPT code licenses

Does anyone else find this shocking and insane? We are CHARGED to use codes that are REQUIRED to get paid for anything we do??!! AMA should be ashamed. This should be public domain! My head is spinning. We have no input into the changes that are made, how the codes are used by insurance companies, or anything else about them, either.


Health care professionals who use Allscripts’ Practice Fusion EHR system will be charged separately for the use of the American Medical Association’s CPT codes next year. The AMA owns CPT codes and charges an annual licensing fee of $17 per user, according to the organization, but some physicians say they have received alerts that they will be charged much more.

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I am surprised not because they are charging you $17 per user, but because we are getting charged $110 annually per user from the first day we adopted our EMR program in 2012. I just accepted that that is the way things are. We use MicroMD EMR. Do they have different fees each EHR or EMR?

I was shocked a few years ago when I discovered this. It only required a few hours to be educated how extremely adroit these institutions become once they start paying Wall Street level executive salaries to attract talent.

From AMA 2018 990 Tax Filing ‘Non Profit’ report: Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax

(5) Royalties… $158,584,546 (2018) -up from $70M in 2011

Yes, they receive royalties from the copyrighting CPT codes. They get a LOT of royalties. Because it is mandated by the Government (CMS), my understanding of law was when it is mandated and declared a standard it is transitioned into the public domain as a public good. Like Miles per Hour for road speeds. Like letters and words. Like the Periodic Table.

Pretty smart leadership to pay 10% of their income stream to lobby the government and have the US Gov’t protect and enforce a privatized Monopoly.

2018 AMA is #9 in lobby spending. 2020 they are #6

Section 162(e) nondeductible lobbying and political expenditures (do not include amounts of political expenses for which the section 527(f) tax was paid).
a) Current year … (2a) $19,752,406 (2018 - could not find 527(f) form)

This is an excellent legal study on Copyrighting Standards "When private organizations develop such standards, copyright protection of those standards often creates a conflict between private intellectual property rights and society’s need for standards. This conflict is especially apparent when a local or state government adopts a privately drafted standard as law. "