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Croat Med J. 2010 Jun;51(3):250-8.

Changing patient classification system for hospital reimbursement in Romania.

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  • 1National School of Public Health and Health Services Management, 31 Vaselor St., Bucharest 021253, Romania.



To evaluate the effects of the change in the diagnosis-related group (DRG) system on patient morbidity and hospital financial performance in the Romanian public health care system.


Three variables were assessed before and after the classification switch in July 2007: clinical outcomes, the case mix index, and hospital budgets, using the database of the National School of Public Health and Health Services Management, which contains data regularly received from hospitals reimbursed through the Romanian DRG scheme (291 in 2009).


The lack of a Romanian system for the calculation of cost-weights imposed the necessity to use an imported system, which was criticized by some clinicians for not accurately reflecting resource consumption in Romanian hospitals. The new DRG classification system allowed a more accurate clinical classification. However, it also exposed a lack of physicians' knowledge on diagnosing and coding procedures, which led to incorrect coding. Consequently, the reported hospital morbidity changed after the DRG switch, reflecting an increase in the national case-mix index of 25% in 2009 (compared with 2007). Since hospitals received the same reimbursement over the first two years after the classification switch, the new DRG system led them sometimes to change patients' diagnoses in order to receive more funding.


Lack of oversight of hospital coding and reporting to the national reimbursement scheme allowed the increase in the case-mix index. The complexity of the new classification system requires more resources (human and financial), better monitoring and evaluation, and improved legislation in order to achieve better hospital resource allocation and more efficient patient care.

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