Understanding the Process: Which is Used to Report HHRGs to Medicare on HHPPS Claims

As a healthcare provider or clinician, you may be familiar with the term HHRG – Home Health Resource Group. Essentially, HHRGs are a classification system utilized by Medicare to rate patients receiving home health services based on their medical complexity and care needs. This information is critical for ensuring proper reimbursement and continuity of care for patients. But how exactly are HHRGs reported to Medicare on Home Health Prospective Payment System (HHPPS) claims?

This is where understanding the HHPPS claim process becomes essential. Essentially, healthcare providers must include relevant patient information such as diagnosis codes, procedures, and more when submitting HHPPS claims to Medicare. Doing so allows providers to obtain the appropriate reimbursement and reflects the level of care required to help patients achieve better health outcomes. Properly reporting HHRGs is equally crucial to ensure patient prioritization and adequate funding for necessary care.

That being said, there are numerous nuances and complexities involved with fully understanding and complying with HHPPS regulations and HHRG classifications. Consequently, ensuring proper reimbursement for home health services requires a solid understanding of these intricacies. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into which is used to report HHRGs to Medicare on HHPPS claims, along with some essential tips for improving your understanding and compliance with these systems.

What are HHRGs?

Home Health Resource Groups (HHRGs) are a way of grouping home health patients together based on their diagnosis, functional abilities, and other factors that may affect their care needs. Each HHRG has a corresponding payment amount that is used to reimburse home health agencies for their services. Medicare uses HHRGs to determine the payment amount for each patient on a Home Health Prospective Payment System (HHPPS) claim.

HHRGs are based on the Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) data that is collected from patients during an initial assessment and subsequent visits. This data is used to determine a patient’s functional abilities and expected care needs, which are then used to assign them to the appropriate HHRG.

  • There are 432 HHRGs currently used by Medicare
  • Each HHRG has a corresponding case-mix weight, which is used to determine the payment amount for that patient
  • The HHRG payment amount includes payment for all home health services, including nursing care, therapy, and medical supplies

Using HHRGs helps to ensure that patients with similar care needs are reimbursed at the same rate, regardless of where they live or receive care. This ensures that Medicare is able to provide equitable payment to all home health agencies, regardless of their location or the patients they serve.

Importance of accurately reporting HHRGs to Medicare

Reporting HHRGs to Medicare is crucial for home health agencies (HHAs) in getting proper reimbursement. HHRGs are the driving force behind the home health prospective payment system (HHPPS), which sets the reimbursement amount for all covered home health services. Therefore, accurately reporting HHRGs ensures that HHAs receive proper payment for the services they provide to their patients.

Incorrect HHRG reporting can result in underpayment or overpayment. Underpayment can affect an HHA’s cash flow and profits, potentially leading to financial instability. Overpayment, on the other hand, can trigger Medicare recovery audits, resulting in costly refunds and penalties.

  • In addition to proper reimbursement, accurate HHRG reporting also provides insight into patient needs and care
  • This data enables HHAs to evaluate their performance and make necessary improvements in the quality of care they provide
  • Accurate HHRG reporting can also impact a home health agency’s rating on Home Health Compare, a Medicare website that compares the quality of care provided by different HHAs

Without accurate HHRG reporting, HHAs cannot deliver quality care and operate efficiently. For that reason, it is imperative that HHAs employ staff with proper training in HHRG documentation and ensure that all members of the team follow the correct reporting procedures.

Correct HHRG reportingIncorrect HHRG reporting
Sets accurate reimbursement amountLeads to underpayment or overpayment
Provides insight into patient needs and careDoes not reflect the true nature of the patient’s needs
Enables HHAs to improve quality of careMay lead to poor quality of care and patient outcomes

Accurate HHRG reporting ultimately benefits both the HHA and its patients. With proper training and awareness, HHAs can ensure that their patients receive the highest quality of care possible while avoiding costly errors in reimbursement.

HHPPS Claims Submission Process

Submitting claims for reimbursement through the Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System (HHPPS) can be a complex process. It requires a thorough understanding of the guidelines and regulations set by Medicare. Here is a closer look at the HHPPS claims submission process, including the guidelines to report HHRGs:

Guidelines to Report HHRGs:

  • The HHRG code is a five-digit code that represents the patient’s classification category based on their clinical characteristics
  • This code is used to determine the payment rate for the patient’s episode and must be reported on every claim submitted to Medicare
  • Every HHRG code contains a case-mix group and severity level

Electronic Claims Submission:

The easiest and most efficient way to submit HHPPS claims is through electronic submission. Providers can submit claims using their Medicare Administrative Contractor’s (MAC) electronic claims submission system or a clearinghouse. The electronic submission process for HHPPS claims reduces errors and processing time, while also allowing for faster reimbursement.

Before submitting claims electronically, providers must ensure that their software is up-to-date and that they are familiar with the specific submission requirements and guidelines set by Medicare.

Paper Claims Submission:

While electronic submission is the preferred method, paper claims are still accepted. Providers can submit paper claims using the CMS-1450 form for institutional providers or the CMS-1500 for individual providers.

However, paper claims have a longer processing time and may have a higher rate of errors, resulting in delayed reimbursement. Providers are encouraged to submit HHPPS claims electronically wherever possible.

HHPPS Claims Submission Process Table:

Determine HHRG codeUsed to determine payment rate and must be reported on every claim submitted to Medicare
Submit claims electronicallyPreferred method for faster reimbursement and fewer errors
Submit paper claimsAccepted, but have longer processing times and higher error rates

Understanding the HHPPS claims submission process and the guidelines for reporting HHRGs is essential to ensure timely and accurate reimbursement for home health services provided to Medicare beneficiaries.

Understanding the impact of HHRGs on reimbursement

Healthcare providers are paid for their services based on a system of classification known as the Home Health Resource Groups (HHRGs). Essentially, HHRGs are categories that describe the needs of a patient and determine the amount of payment a provider will receive for their care. As a result, it is important for providers to understand the impact that their patient’s HHRG classification can have on their reimbursement.

Several factors can affect a patient’s HHRG classification, including the severity of their illness, the number of services they require, and the amount of time they need care. The HHRG classification is then used to determine the reimbursement rate that a provider will receive for their services. It is important to note that reimbursement rates can vary depending on the patient’s HHRG classification and the type of services provided.

  • Providers must ensure that they accurately document the services provided to their patients to ensure that the correct HHRG classification is assigned. Failure to properly document services can result in lower reimbursement rates or even denied claims.
  • Providers must also keep in mind that certain services may fall under a different HHRG classification than the patient’s primary diagnosis. For example, providing continuing education to a patient’s family members may be billed under a different HHRG classification than the patient’s primary diagnosis.
  • The HHRG classification system is revised on a regular basis by Medicare. Providers should stay up-to-date on any changes to ensure accurate billing.

Understanding the impact of HHRGs on reimbursement is essential for healthcare providers who wish to be fully reimbursed for their services. By keeping accurate records and staying up-to-date on any changes to the HHRG classification system, providers can ensure that they receive the reimbursement they deserve for their valuable services.


Medicare Learning Networkhttps://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNProducts/Downloads/Home-Health-Resource-Groups-and-Payment-MLN-Booklet-ICN-MLN006815.pdf
National Association for Home Care & Hospicehttps://www.nahc.org/NAHCReport/nr2016/articles_2016/032816-1.html

Implications of incorrect HHRG reporting

Home Health Resource Groups (HHRGs) are used to determine payment for home health services by Medicare. These HHRGs are based on the patient’s clinical characteristics and are determined through the Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) assessment. However, incorrect reporting of HHRGs can have serious implications for both the provider and the patient.

  • Underpayment: Incorrect HHRG reporting can lead to underpayment for the services provided. This can significantly impact a provider’s bottom line and may make it difficult for them to continue providing care to patients.
  • Overpayment: On the other hand, incorrect HHRG reporting can also result in overpayment, leading to potential fraud and abuse. Providers who are found to have overbilled Medicare can face hefty fines and may even lose their license to practice.
  • Patient care: Incorrect HHRG reporting can have a direct impact on patient care. If a patient is not assigned the correct HHRG, they could receive inadequate care due to a lack of resources or staff to provide necessary services. This can result in patients not receiving the care they need to maintain good health or recover from an illness or injury.

Root Causes of Incorrect HHRG Reporting

The above implications of incorrect HHRG reporting show the importance of accurate reporting to ensure adequate care for patients and appropriate reimbursement for providers. There are several reasons why HHRGs may be reported incorrectly:

  • Insufficient staff training: If staff members responsible for reporting HHRGs are not adequately trained, they may not have the necessary skills or knowledge to report accurately. This can lead to mistakes and incorrect HHRG assignments.
  • Insufficient documentation: If documentation is incomplete or missing, it can be difficult to assign the correct HHRG. Providers must ensure that all required documentation is complete and accurate to avoid this issue.
  • Pressure to meet targets: Providers may feel pressure to meet targets and quotas, leading them to rush through documentation and assessment processes, resulting in incorrect HHRGs being reported.

Preventing Incorrect HHRG Reporting

Preventing incorrect HHRG reporting requires a concerted effort from providers, staff, and Medicare itself. Below are some ways to prevent incorrect HHRG reporting:

Staff trainingProviders must ensure that staff responsible for HHRG reporting are adequately trained. They should receive regular training and updates to stay up-to-date with Medicare regulations and requirements
DocumentationProviders must ensure that all required documentation is complete and accurate and in line with Medicare regulations and requirements.
Internal auditsProviders should conduct regular internal audits of HHRG reporting to identify any errors or inconsistencies and address them promptly.
Medicare auditsProviders should also expect Medicare audits of their HHRG reporting to ensure compliance with regulations and requirements. These audits can take place at any time and may include reviews of staff training, documentation, and internal audits.

By following the prevention measures above, providers can help prevent incorrect HHRG reporting, which can lead to better patient care, accurate reimbursement, and compliance with Medicare regulations.

Common errors made in HHRG reporting

In Home Health Prospective Payment System (HHPPS), accurate reporting of HHRGs (Home Health Resource Groups) to Medicare is crucial for ensuring proper payment. Unfortunately, some common errors are made in HHRG reporting that can potentially result in loss of revenue. Here are some of the most frequent mistakes:

  • Incorrect Coding: HHRGs are calculated based on OASIS (Outcome and Assessment Information Set) assessments, which indicate the home health agency’s patients’ functional and clinical status. Incorrect coding of OASIS data can have significant impacts on the payment. For instance, omitting a particular activity of daily living (ADL) assistance or coding the wrong visit type can result in an HHRG that does not accurately reflect the patient’s diagnosis and care needs.
  • Missing Information: Another common error is failing to provide all necessary information on the claim form. When it comes to HHRG reporting, the missing data can directly impact the payment amount. For example, leaving out the diagnosis codes required to calculate HHRGs correctly can lead to underpayments.
  • Timing Issues: Timely submission of claims is vital to ensure proper payment for the services rendered. Delays in claim submission can lead to payment reductions. Common timing errors include incomplete or late submission of OASIS assessments and Medicare claims.

Strategies to avoid common HHRG reporting errors

To avoid common HHRG reporting errors, home health agencies should implement the following strategies:

  • Proper Training: Staff involved in HHRG coding and reporting should receive the necessary training to ensure correct coding practices, prompt and accurate OASIS completion, and proper claim submission.
  • Quality Review: Periodical compliance monitoring can be used to identify any errors in coding, documentation, or submission before the claim is sent to Medicare. This review will help spot any issues early on and mitigate potential payment issues.
  • Utilize Technology: Using technological tools such as HHRG calculators, OASIS review software, and claim scrubbers can save HHA staff time and reduce the risk of errors associated with manual processes.

HHRG Payment Rate Table

Below is a table of the HHRG Payment Rates for 2021. The table lists each HHRG weight and its corresponding payment rate based on the year’s national standardized 60-day episode payment rate.

HHRG weightLow Utilization Payment Adjustment (LUPA) rateNon-LUPA Rate

The HHRG Payment Rate Table is just a small part of the information you need to understand to report HHRGs accurately to Medicare. Consulting an HHRG expert or professional consultant can help you go through the process with ease and accuracy minimizes the risk of claim denials or underpayments.

Strategies for Improving HHRG Reporting Accuracy

Accurate reporting of Home Health Resource Groups (HHRG) is critical for home healthcare agencies in the United States. The HHRG score is the basis for Medicare payment to the agency, and inaccuracies can lead to significant financial consequences. Here are 7 strategies to improve HHRG reporting accuracy:

  • Train your staff: Ensure that all staff who complete the OASIS assessments are trained in the most current CMS guidance on HHRG reporting.
  • Use an electronic medical record (EMR) system: An EMR system automates many of the calculations required for HHRG reporting and can reduce the potential for errors.
  • Conduct regular Quality Assurance (QA) checks: Establish a system of regular QA checks to identify and correct reporting errors before the claim is submitted to Medicare.
  • Ensure that all assessments are completed timely: Delayed OASIS assessments can lead to inaccurate HHRG scoring. Agencies should establish clear timelines for completing assessments and monitor compliance.
  • Monitor HHRG scores: Establish a system to monitor HHRG scores on a regular basis and address any unexpected fluctuations.
  • Use software to assist with HHRG coding: There are software tools available that can assist with coding of OASIS assessments to ensure that all relevant data is captured and calculated accurately.
  • Establish a process for correcting errors: Develop a process for identifying and correcting errors identified in HHRG reporting in a timely manner to reduce the potential for financial impact.

HHRG Reporting Accuracy Best Practices

To increase the accuracy of HHRG reporting, agencies should establish best practices that include:

  • Reviewing HHRG coding during clinical record review
  • Having a coding specialist on staff available to answer questions of clinical staff
  • Providing education and feedback to clinical and support staff about HHRG coding

HHRG Reporting Accuracy Tables

Here are some important tables to keep in mind for improving HHRG reporting accuracy:

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FAQs: Which is used to report HHRGs to Medicare on HHPPS claims?

1. What is HHPPS?
HHPPS stands for Home Health Prospective Payment System. It is a payment system used by Medicare to reimburse home health agencies for home health services provided to Medicare beneficiaries.

2. What is an HHRG?
HHRG stands for Home Health Resource Group. It is a system that classifies home health patients into clinically meaningful groups for payment purposes. Each HHRG has a corresponding payment amount.

3. How are HHRGs reported to Medicare on HHPPS claims?
HHRGs are reported to Medicare on HHPPS claims using a code that corresponds to the patient’s assigned HHRG. This code is called the HIPPS code.

4. What is a HIPPS code?
HIPPS stands for Health Insurance Prospective Payment System. It is a code that is used to report HHRGs to Medicare on HHPPS claims. The code consists of a series of letters and numbers that represent the patient’s HHRG and other payment-related information.

5. Who assigns the HHRG and HIPPS codes?
The HHRG is assigned by the home health agency using the OASIS (Outcome and Assessment Information Set) assessment tool. The HIPPS code is generated by a billing software program used by the home health agency.

6. What happens if the HHRG and HIPPS codes do not match?
If the HHRG and HIPPS codes do not match, the claim will be rejected by Medicare. This could result in delayed payment for the home health services provided.

7. Is it important to report accurate HHRG and HIPPS codes?
Yes, it is important to report accurate HHRG and HIPPS codes to ensure correct payment from Medicare. Reporting inaccurate codes could result in overpayment or underpayment for the home health services provided.

Closing Title: Thanks for Reading and Come Back Soon!

We hope that these FAQs have been helpful in understanding which is used to report HHRGs to Medicare on HHPPS claims. Remember, accurate reporting of HHRG and HIPPS codes is essential for timely and correct payment from Medicare. Thank you for reading, and please visit us again soon for more informative articles on healthcare billing and coding.