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Description of case-mix adjusters by the Severity of Illness Working Group of the Society of Hospital Epidemiologists of America (SHEA)


Hospitals, insurance companies, and federal and state governments are increasingly concerned about reducing patient cost expenditures while maintaining high quality patient care. One method of reducing expenditures has been to tie hospital reimbursement with a prospective payment system based on diagnosis-related groups (DRGs). However, reimbursement under the DRG system is not acceptable for all patients in all hospitals because it is neither an accurate predictor of costs nor of clinical outcome. This deficiency poses significant problems for hospitals because DRGs are used nationwide as the prospective payment system for inpatients covered by Medicare. Several case-mix adjusters have been proposed to modify DRGs to improve their accuracy in predicting costs and outcome. We reviewed five of the most widely available indices: Acute Physiologic and Chronic Health Evaluation (APACHE II), Coded Disease Staging, Computerized Severity Index (CSI), Medical Illness Severity Group System (MEDISGROUPS), and Patient Management Categories (PMC). Recommendations for the use of a single case-mix adjuster cannot be made at this time because all indices have not been compared in sufficiently diverse settings and because some are better predictors of costs while others are better predictors of clinical outcome. Hospital epidemiologists and other infection control practitioners should be informed about these indices and their potential applications as they expand their role beyond infection control problems to issues concerning cost containment, quality assurance, and reimbursement.

Gross PA, Beyt BE, Decker MD, Garibaldi RA, Hierholzer WJ, Jarvis WR, Larson E, Simmons B, Scheckler WE, Harkavy LM

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1988 Jul;9(7):309-16

PMID: 3136205