The effect of the new trauma DRGs on reimbursement

Barbara Bennett Jacobs, University of Connecticut School of Nursing
Lenworth M. Jacobs, Hartford Hospital

Document Type Article


Reimbursement for trauma care based on prospective payment has not been satisfactory. The Health Care Financing Administration introduced four new Multiple Significant Trauma (MST) DRGs in 1991 with the intention of covering patients who have had at least two body sites injured. To determine the effect if any on reimbursement, a sample of patients who were assigned the new DRGs over a 5-month period were analyzed. The analysis compared the calculated reimbursement for these 49 patients based on their total accumulated charges, DRG weights, and the average Medicare dollar blend along with the additional weight factor specific for the study facility. This analysis was compared with an additional analysis determining the reimbursement performed on the same patient sample but with DRG weights determined from DRGs derived from the 1989 DRG GROUPER/FINDER. During the 5-month study period, 5.5% of the patients discharged from the hospital has sustained at least one injury covered by ICD-9-CM codes. Of these, 49 (3.9%) were classified into one of the four new MST DRGs. The majority of patients were male (75.5%), the mean age was 31.8 years, and the total charges accumulated were $1,809,192.23. The calculated DRG-based reimbursement was $1,183,495.40, or 65.5% of the total charges. In the second part of the study, using the DRGs available in 1989 for the same sample of patients, the DRG-based reimbursement was $691,437.72, or only 38.2% of the accumulated charges.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)