The CMS in an upcoming proposed rule on hospital payments may call for only incremental modifications to the DRG classification system in 2008 while it continues to study alternative methods for severity adjustment, sources from the healthcare technology industry stated.
Full-blown implementation of a new system to account for severity in patients may not take place until 2009, said Ingenix Vice President Bob Leary. Ingenix is the developer of one of five DRG classification systems the CMS is evaluating as a potential choice to upgrade its current system. However, it is possible that the CMS will look outside of these models to develop a different method for evaluating patients based on severity, said Dean Farley, vice president of anti-fraud analytics for Ingenix.
Farley speculated that the proposed inpatient prospective payment rule may be posted to the CMS Web site as early as April 11 or April 12, although the CMS has not confirmed those dates. -- by Jennifer Lubell