The Impact of the Inpatient Prospective Payment System and Diagnosis-Related Groups: A Survey of the Literature

North American Actuarial Journal
Volume 5, Issue 4, 2001
Marjorie A. Rosenberg PhD, FSA, MAAA & Mark J. Browne PhD


The outpatient prospective payment system for the Medicare program became effective Aug. 1, 2000, as mandated by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. This outpatient program complements Medicare’s inpatient prospective payment system, which was introduced in 1983. A survey of the literature over the past 20 years is undertaken to review the effects of the inpatient prospective payment system and diagnosis-related groups (DRGs) on inpatient hospital utilization, expenditures, and outcomes. The level of the DRG payment has been questioned, as well as the process of adjusting the payment levels from one year to the next. In addition, past research has speculated that the DRG classification may not be sensitive to severity and is subject to coding ambiguities. These conclusions can be used as input to future research on the new outpatient program, as well as updating research on the inpatient program.

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