Improving Accuracy of Clinical Documentation Positively Impacts Risk Adjustment Factor and HCC Coding
The Hierarchical Condition Category (HCC) risk adjustment model is used by CMS to estimate predicted costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and the results directly impact the reimbursement healthcare organizations receive for patients enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. CMS requires that all qualifying conditions be identified each year by provider organizations. Documentation that is linked to a non-specific diagnosis, as well as incomplete documentation, negatively affects reimbursement.
Allina Health, a not-for-profit integrated healthcare delivery system serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin, needed to improve its HCC coding and clinical documentation in order to ensure the correct risk adjustment factor (RAF) was applied to its patients, since failing to do so would jeopardize its reimbursement and result in lower than expected compensation. After identifying opportunities for improvement by comparing its HCC risk adjustment coding data to other organizations and vendor metrics, Allina Health improved clinical documentation precision, medical diagnoses accuracy, and ensured eligible patients are seen each calendar year.
- 10 percent increase in RAF for the target population in one year.
- 72 percent relative improvement in four key problem list diagnoses.