DOI: 10.1111/1475-6773.14211 ISSN:

An assessment of completeness and medical coding of Medicare Advantage hospitalizations in two national data sets

Philip G. Cotterill
  • Health Policy



To compare the Encounter Data System (EDS) and Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) completeness and medical coding of Medicare Advantage hospitalizations.

Data Sources

FY 2016–FY 2019 data limited to hospitals paid under Medicare's Inpatient Prospective Payment System.

Study Design

Secondary data analysis.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods

Completeness of EDS and MedPAR data was estimated using the total number of unique hospitalizations in both data sources as denominator. Deriving this denominator involved matching cases in the EDS and MedPAR by MA enrollee, discharge date, and hospital. The higher the match rate, the more informative the comparison of EDS and MedPAR medical coding of the same hospitalization. EDS and MedPAR codes were assessed for similarity on six measures of Medicare Severity Diagnosis‐Related Group (MS‐DRG) assignment and identical diagnosis and procedure codes.

Principal Findings

EDS hospitalizations' completeness increased steadily each year from 90% to 93%, driven by the 23 largest Medicare Advantage Organizations, which account for 83% of total cases. MedPAR completeness was relatively stable (89%) and benefited from 91% completeness among the largest hospitals, which are often teaching hospitals and account for 63% of MedPAR cases. By 2019, 97% of medical cases were assigned the same MS‐DRG, indicating the high consistency of the severity level coding, since 98% were assigned the same base MS‐DRGs, which include all severity levels for the same condition. Without chart reviews, medical cases with identical diagnosis codes increased from 87% to 92%.


The EDS has a completeness advantage over MedPAR for studies of non‐teaching disproportionate share (DSH) hospitals and individual hospitals generally. MedPAR is only slightly less complete for hospitalizations of teaching DSH hospitals and large hospitals in general. A highly consistent EDS and MedPAR medical coding of matched cases is an important finding since the matched cases are 88% of EDS and 90% of MedPAR cases.

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