01-118 Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCaH) DRG Review Notification of Medical Review

Noridian Healthcare Solutions, LLC (Noridian), as the Supplemental Medical Review Contractor (SMRC) for the CMS, is conducting post-payment review of claims for Medicare Part A DRG codes. These codes were billed on dates of service from July 1, 2022, through November 30, 2023. This notification includes the reasons for the review, the documentation that will be requested in the Additional Documentation Request (ADR) letter, and resources providers or suppliers may wish to consult when submitting claims.


In March 2020, CMS announced the Hospitals Without Walls external link icon program, which provides broad regulatory flexibility that allows hospitals to provide services in locations beyond their existing walls. The Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCaH) external link icon program was developed to support models of at-home hospital care throughout the country.

The Acute Hospital Care at Home (AHCaH) program was developed to support models of at-home hospital care throughout the country. The AHCaH waiver initiation begun in November 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic-related hospital capacity concerns. This initiative allowed individually approved hospitals to provide inpatient-level care for Medicare patients, leveraging telehealth, and waiving the requirement that a nurse be always present.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA), 2023 was passed by Congress on December 29, 2022, and extended the AHCaH initiative through December 2024. This legislation requires hospitals to provide data to the Secretary to monitor the quality of care and to undertake a study, which must be completed on or before September 30, 2024. As a requirement of this legislation, CMS will perform a study to analyze the quality of care and clinical conditions treated, costs incurred, quantity, mix, and intensity of services furnished at home, and socioeconomic information on beneficiaries treated, which are the same criteria used by hospitals.

More information about the AHCaH program can be found here https://qualitynet.cms.gov/acute-hospital-care-at-home external link icon.

Reason for Review

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (CAA, 2023) was signed into law on December 29, 2022, which included funding for disaster relief and extended several expiring waivers or flexibilities put in place during COVID-19. The extension of the AHCaH initiative is effective through December 31, 2024. As part of this extension, the SMRC is conducting a DRG coding review to analyze AHCaH claims.

The SMRC is tasked with performing data analysis and conduct DRG coding reviews on claims billed with AHCaH DRG codes billed with dates of service July 1, 2022, through November 30, 2023.

The SMRC will conduct DRG coding reviews in accordance with applicable waivers, flexibilities, statutory, regulatory, sub-regulatory, and coding guidance.

Claim Sample Detail

DRG Description
177 Respiratory infections and inflammations with mcc
291 Heart failure and shock with mcc
871 Septicemia or severe sepsis without mv >96 hours with mcc
603 Cellulitis without mcc
193 Simple pneumonia and pleurisy with mcc
690 Kidney and urinary tract infections without mcc
190 Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with mcc
872 Septicemia or severe sepsis without mv >96 hours without mcc
194 Simple pneumonia and pleurisy with cc
178 Respiratory infections and inflammations with cc
191 Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with cc
392 Esophagitis, gastroenteritis, and miscellaneous digestive disorders without mcc
292 Heart failure and shock with cc
698 Other kidney and urinary tract diagnoses with mcc
189 Pulmonary edema and respiratory failure
202 Bronchitis and asthma with cc/mcc
683 Renal failure with cc
689 Kidney and urinary tract infections with mcc

Access related project details are below.

Documentation Requirements

Below is a list of specific documentation requirements that will be included in each ADR, to obtain the necessary documentation to perform the review.

Providers and suppliers are requested to submit each of the Documentation Requirements outlined below, if and as applicable to the claim on review.

  1. Physician/Non-Physician Practitioner (NPP) Admission Orders.
  2. Initial Admission Assessment.
  3. Physician Consultations.
  4. Diagnostic tests, radiological reports, lab results, pathology reports, and other pertinent test results and interpretations.
  5. All records that justify and support the level of care received.
  6. History and Physical reports (include medical history and current list of medications).
  7. Operative/procedure report.
  8. Documentation to support the medical necessity of service and DRG billed.
  9. Documentation to support the diagnosis codes and procedure codes billed.
  10. Practitioner, nurse, and ancillary progress notes.
  11. Nursing Documentation (i.e., Nursing notes and admission assessment – Lines; Medication & IV administration records; nursing treatment sheets such as: Skin care/wound care treatment sheets. Respiratory treatments and oxygen therapy records).
  12. Vital sign records, weight sheets, care plans, treatment records.
  13. PT/OT/SLP – Initial evaluation, plan of care, progress reports, treatment encounter notes, therapy minute logs, and discharge summary.
  14. Physician/Nonphysician (NPP) coding queries.
  15. Documentation to support virtual service(s) provided: Telehealth, E-Visit(s), Virtual Check-In.
  16. Any other supporting/pertinent documentation.
  17. Signature log or signature attestation for any missing or illegible signatures within the medical record (all personnel providing services).
  18. Advance Beneficiary Notice of Non-Coverage (ABN)/Notice of Medicare Non-Coverage (NOMNC).
  19. If medical record documentation is submitted via esMD: Beneficiary identification, date of service, and provider of the service should be clearly identified on each page of the submitted documentation.
  20. PLEASE NOTE: The supplier or provider is responsible for obtaining all documentation from the ordering/referring provider to ensure medical necessity criteria have been met.


Social Security Act (SSA) Title XI

  • § 1135. Authority to Waive Requirements During National Emergencies.

Social Security Act (SSA) Title XVIII

  • § 1812. Scope of Benefits.
  • § 1815(a). Payment to Providers of Services.
  • § 1861. Definitions of Services, Institutions, Etc.
  • § 1862 (a)(1) (A). Exclusions from Coverage and Medicare as Secondary Payer.
  • § 1879(a)(1). Limitation on Liability of Beneficiary Where Medicare Claims are Disallowed.
  • § 1886(I)(i). Payment to Hospitals for Inpatient Hospital Services.
  • § 1893(b). Medicare Integrity Program.

Title 42 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

  • § 411.15(k)(1). Particular Services Excluded from Coverage.
  • § 412.1(a)(1). Scope of Part.
  • § 412.2. Basis of payment.
  • § 412.4(b). Discharges and Transfers.
  • Subpart A, § 413.1. Introduction and General Rules.
  • § 424.5 and 424.5(a)(6). Conditions for Medicare Payment-Basic Conditions, Sufficient Information.

Public Law

Federal Register

  • Interim Final Rule with Comments (IFC). Volume 85, Number 66. Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Policy and Regulatory Revisions in Response to the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency. CMS-1744-IFC. Effective March 31, 2020. Retrieved from 2020-06990.pdf (govinfo.gov) external link icon
  • Interim Final Rule with Comments (IFC). Vol. 85, No. 90. Medicare and Medicaid Programs, Basic Health Program, and Exchanges; Additional Policy and Regulatory Revisions in response to the COVID–19 Public Health Emergency and Delay of Certain Reporting Requirements for the Skilled Nursing Facility Quality Reporting Program. CMS-5531-IFC. Effective May 8, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-final-ifc.pdf external link icon.
  • Final Rule (FR). Vol. 85, No. 248. Regulatory Revisions in Response to the Public Health Emergency (PHE) for COVID–19; and Finalization of Certain Provisions from the March 31st, May 8th, and September 2nd Interim Final Rules in Response to the PHE for COVID–19. CMS-1734-F Effective January 1, 2021. Retrieved from 2020-26815.pdf (govinfo.gov) external link icon

Internet-Only Manual (IOM), Medicare Benefit Policy Manual (MBPM), Pub. 100-02

  • Chapter (Ch.) 1. Inpatient Hospital Services Covered Under Part A.
  • Ch. 16. General Exclusion from Coverage.

Internet-Only Manual (IOM), Medicare Claims Processing Manual (MCPM), Pub. 100-04

  • Ch. 1. General Billing Requirements.
  • Ch. 3. Inpatient Hospital Billing.
  • Ch. 23, § 10.2. Inpatient Claim Diagnosis Reporting.

Internet-Only Manual (IOM), Medicare Program Integrity Manual (MPIM), Pub. 100-08

  • Ch. 3. Verifying Potential Errors and Taking Corrective Actions.
  • Ch. 6, §§ 6.5.1 – 6.5.4. Medical Review of Inpatient Hospital Claims for Part A Payment.

CMS Coding Policies

  • CMS. New Occurrence Span Code and Revenue Code for Acute Hospital Care at Home. Change Request 12540 Effective July 1, 2022. Retrieved from r11191otn.pdf (cms.gov) external link icon


Last Updated Feb 20, 2024