Original Articles: PDF OnlyKominski Gerald F. PhD; Schoenman, Julie A. PhDMedical Care: August 1990 - p 657-671 Buy Abstract The Medicare prospective payment system (PPS) pays hospitals a fixed payment for patients in 474 categories of diagnosis-related groups (DRGs). Since the beginning of PPS, many DRGs have been modified to improve the accuracy of patient classification and the equity of hospital payments. There are continuing problems, however, in classifying surgical patients who have no procedure related to their reason for admission. Until recently, these patients were classified into a single miscellaneous category (DRG 468) and paid the same amount, despite considerable variation in their clinical conditions and resource use. Three options for improving the payment and classification of such cases were examined. Improvements are possible using each of the options examined. The greatest improvement, however, was achieved by reassigning patients to existing surgical DRGs, because patients with the same surgery tend to have similar costs, regardless of their original reason for entering the hospital. This change in assignment methodology would increase payments to teaching hospitals, where the most costly DRG 468 cases are concentrated. It also would remove potential incentives to deny access to or withhold appropriate treatments from patients needing high-cost surgical procedures. It was concluded that this change should be implemented for hospital payment under PPS. © Lippincott-Raven Publishers.