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Livanta's Higher Weighted DRG and Short Stay Reviews

Published on 

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Did You Know?

Livanta, the National Medicare Claim Review Contractor, is actively reviewing two types of reviews monthly.  

Higher weighted diagnosis-related groups (HWDRG) Reviews: When a hospital resubmits a claim with a higher weighted DRG as a correction to the original claim, this “is a trigger for a potential review of an inpatient claim. This review activity helps ensure that the patient’s diagnostic, procedural, and discharge information is coded and reported properly on the hospital’s claim and matches documentation in the medical record.”  

Short Stay Reviews (SSRs): For SSRs, “reviewers at Livanta obtain and evaluate the medical record to ensure that the patient’s admission and discharge were medically appropriate based on the documentation of the patient’s condition and treatment rendered during the stay, and that the corresponding Part A Medicare claim submitted by the provider was appropriate.” 

Why It Matters? 

HWDRG Reviews: When a hospital’s HWDRG claim is subject to a post-payment review, in addition to DRG validation of the adjusted claim, the review will include validation of medical necessity of the inpatient admission. 

SSRs: Short Stays are a high volume and high-cost review focus for more contractors than Livanta. RealTime Medicare Data’s (RTMDs) database includes Medicare Fee-for-Service paid claims for the nation. The following RTMD data represents paid short stay claims in CY 2022:

  • 874,104: The volume of short stay claims,
  • $47,043,865,852: The total charges by hospitals for short stay claims, and
  • $10,052,743,324: The total payment by Medicare to hospital for short stays.

Discharge disposition codes expired (20), transfer to another acute care facility (02), transfer to a short-term general hospital with a planned acute care hospital inpatient admission (82), left against medical advice (07), and hospice election (50 & 51) are excluded from the short stay RTMD data as CMS considers them to be unforeseen circumstances. 

Office of Inspector General (OIG)

Prior OIG audits identified millions of dollars in overpayments for inpatient claims with short lengths of stay. The OIG had previously stated they would not audit short stays after October 1, 2013; however, their current work plan includes a review of CMS’ Oversight of the Two-Midnight Rule for Inpatient Admissions.

Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT)

Since the October 1, 2013 implementation of the Two-Midnight Rule, as part of their annual report, the CERT review contractor has reported hospital inpatient review findings by length of stay. The improper payment rate for “0 or 1 day” claims is consistently higher than other lengths of stay. In fact, the improper payment rate for short stay claims increased from 16.8% in 2021 to 20.1% in 2022 with a projected improper payment of $1.5B.

Program for Evaluating Payment Patterns Electronic Report (PEPPER)

One-Day stays for medical and surgical DRGs are review targets in the short-term acute care PEPPER. The suggested intervention for high outliers is that “this could indicate that there are unnecessary admissions related to the inappropriate use of admission screening criteria or outpatient observation. A sample of one-day stay cases should be reviewed to determine whether inpatient admission was necessary or if care could have been provided more efficiently on an outpatient basis (e.g., outpatient observation).”

What Can I Do?

Livanta provides several education resources on their website. For example, the Livanta Claims Review Advisor newsletter alternates between SSRs and HWDRG reviews. Examples of newsletter topics includes: 

HWDRG Review Topics: Physician Queries, Sepsis DRGs, Encephalopathy, Anemia and GI Bleeding, and Malnutrition, and Short Stay Review Topics: Chest Pain, Atrial Fibrillation, Congestive Heart Failure, and Transient Ischemic Attack Case Scenarios.

I encourage you to share this information with your HIM, Case Management, and Clinical Documentation Integrity staff.


Livanta website:

RealTime Medicare (RTMD):

OIG Workplan:

CERT Reports:

36th Edition of Short-Term Acute Care Hospitals Users Guide at


Article Author: Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Protection Assessment Tool.

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.