This article describes the design and methods of a study currently under way to develop a Resource-Based Relative Value Scale (RBRVS); an alternative basis for establishing the payment rate for the services and procedures (S/Ps) of physicians in medical and surgical specialties. Physician resource inputs to be measured include (1) S/P time, (2) pre-S/P and post-S/P times, (3) intensity, (4) practice costs, including malpractice premiums, and (5) the cost of specialty training. These five factors will be combined to produce an RBRVS denominated in nonmonetary units. In the initial phase of the study, data on time and intensity will be obtained through a national survey of physicians who perform these S/Ps. In the second, consensus phase of the project, the investigators will convene a panel of representatives of the medical profession, third-party payers, consumers, and other interested parties to examine areas of agreement and disagreement as to how an RBRVS should be used for policy purposes. The final results of this study are expected by the summer of 1988.