What is DRG grouper software?

The grouper is a computer software system that classifies a patient’s hospital stay into an established DRG based on the diagnosis and procedures provided to the patient.


Section 1886(d) of the Act specifies that the Secretary shall establish a classification system (referred to as DRGs) for inpatient discharges and adjust payments under the IPPS based on appropriate weighting factors assigned to each DRG.  Therefore, under the IPPS, we pay for inpatient hospital services on a rate per discharge basis that varies according to the DRG to which a beneficiary’s stay is assigned. The formula used to calculate payment for a specific case multiplies an individual hospital’s payment rate per case by the weight of the DRG to which the case is assigned.  Each DRG weight represents the average resources required to care for cases in that particular DRG, relative to the average resources used to treat cases in all DRGs.

Currently, cases are classified into Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Groups (MS-DRGs) for payment under the IPPS based on the following information reported by the hospital: the principal diagnosis, up to 24 additional diagnoses, and up to 25 procedures performed during the stay.

What is the difference between DRG and MS-DRG?

DRG stands for diagnosis-related group. Medicare’s DRG system is called the Medicare severity diagnosis-related group, or MS-DRG, which is used to determine hospital payments under the inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS).

What are the pros and cons of DRG?

The advantages of the DRG payment system are reflected in the increased efficiency and transparency and reduced average length of stay. The disadvantage of DRG is creating financial incentives toward earlier hospital discharges. Occasionally, such polices are not in full accordance with the clinical benefit priorities.