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American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons

Advocacy, Education, Research

Orthopaedic Risk Stratification and Comorbidity Coding

AAHKS Improving Risk Adjustment Models

For three years, the AAHKS Risk Adjustment Task Force has been working with CMS and the Yale Outcomes Group to improve the risk adjustment models used in TJA performance measures. The goal of performance measures is to give surgeons an accurate assessment of their performance, while controlling for patient factors outside the control of providers. The current TJA performance measures being reported on hospitalcompare.gov are based on administrative claims data; therefore, unless those risk factors that are known to influence outcomes (e.g. smoking, obesity) are captured in the administrative record, your outcomes will not be properly risk adjusted.

We Need Your Help, Patients Need Your Help

We need to begin to document important clinical risk factors for lower extremity arthroplasty and have them tested to see if they improve the current risk model. We have already tested a few of these, that is smoking and obesity, and they improved the model significantly. We hope to continue to optimize the model by adding further clinical variables.

We are seeking your help in systematically capturing the risk variables known to influence outcomes. We have created an easy-to-use checklist, similar to what you currently use to document medical necessity of arthroplasty to avoid RAC audits. We understand that this adds another layer of burden to your preoperative visit, but it is important so that you will be judged fairly and maintain access for our patients.

Risk Factor Checklist

Please forward this checklist to your hospital coders and communicate the importance of this document so that this may be coded appropriately. The checklist includes instructions on how to use it in your office and with your EMR.

MS Word Version

PDF Version


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