This article details data that suggest significant inequities in the current DRG prospective payment system vis-à-vis surgical mortalities. Important health policy issues, in addition to the ability of outcome data to function as a proxy for quality, involve the usefulness of stratifying DRGs vis-à-vis outcome or severity of illness in the future.
Much interest has emerged in outcome data—especially with regard to its ability to function as a risk-adjusted quality-of-care screen for hospitals. A study of hospital resource consumption comparing survivors and mortalities demonstrated that surgical mortalities had a much greater intensity of hospital resource utilization and a substantial financial risk under Medicare's DRG prospective payment pricing system, as compared to surgical survivors. Hospital length of stay for mortalities proved very unprofitable. Emergency-admitted patients who died tended to have shorter hospital stays and less financial risk under DRGs than nonemergency mortalities. Mortalities referred to surgery from other clinical services tended to have greater resource utilization and financial risk under DRGs than nonreferred mortalities.
Address correspondence and requests for reprints to Eric Muñoz, M.D., Head, Research Division, Department of Surgery, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, 271-05 76th Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11042.
Copyright Notice © 1989 Health Administration Press