SwissDRG tariff system

Since 1 January 2012, inpatient care provided by acute hospitals and birth centres has been paid for on the basis of diagnosis related grouping.

Amendments to the Swiss Federal Health Insurance Act (KVG/LAMal) related to hospital funding that entered into force on 1 January 2009 created a legal framework for standardised payments for inpatient care provided by hospitals and birth centres on the basis of diagnosis related grouping (DRG).

Under the DRG system, each hospital case is allocated to so-called diagnosis related groups (for example appendectomies) on the basis of specific criteria, including the primary and secondary diagnoses. The flat amount paid for each DRG is calculated by multiplying a base rate by a cost weight.

The DRGs and cost weights are defined on a standardised basis across Switzerland, and together constitute the tariff structure for the funding system. Formulating the nationwide tariff structure and reviewing it on an annual basis is one of the main tasks of SwissDRG AG, an organisation run jointly by care providers, insurers and the cantons. The tariff structure has to be submitted to the Federal Council for approval.

Since 1 January 2012, acute inpatient care has been funded according to a uniform nationwide system (the SwissDRG or Swiss Diagnosis Related Groups sys-tem) of percase flat fees paid on the basis of diagnosis related grouping (DRG).

Diagnosis related groups

In a DRG (diagnosis related group) system, hospital cases (for example treatment to correct cleft lip and cleft palate) are brought together on the basis of medical and economic criteria to create groups (DRGs) that are as homogeneous as possible. Each hospital case is allotted to a specific DRG on the basis of medical (diagnosis, treatment, etc.) and other criteria (patient’s age, etc.). These DRGs are the same all over Switzerland.

Cost weight

The cost weight for a specific DRG reflects the average cost of treatment relative to the other DRGs covered by the tariff structure. Cost weights are calculated using case data from selected hospitals.

Base rate

The base rate is a type of average amount for inpatient treatments at a specific hospital. Base rates, which can vary depending on the facility.

Base rates are agreed by the tariff partners (insurers and care providers) and approved by the canton responsible. If the tariff partners are unable to agree a base rate it is set by the canton.

Other DRG-based funding systems in Switzerland

SwissDRG AG is in the process of creating uniform nationwide tariff structures for inpatient psychiatric and rehab care (TARPSY) and ST Reha respectively). This means that in the future, there will be uniform tariff systems governing the payment of inpatient care provided by hospitals in all three areas (acute care, rehab and psychiatry).

Evaluation of Health Insurance Act (HIA) revision on hospital financing

The impact of the HIA revision on hospital financing was studied as part of an evaluation. All of the reports connected with the evaluation can be found on the evaluation website.

Last modification 10.07.2019

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Health and Accident Insurance Directorate
Tariffs and Principles Division
Schwarzenburgstrasse 157
3003 Berne
Switzerland
Tel. +41 58 462 21 11
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