What Are the Top Eight HCC Categories?

Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCCs) have been around for some time, but with the increasing shift towards value-based care, they are receiving renewed attention. This shift is understandable because a solid understanding of HCCs is crucial for health systems to ensure proper delivery of services and reimbursement. Without it, there is a risk of not receiving enough reimbursement to cover expenses or, in some cases, not getting reimbursed at all.

Understanding the intricacies of HCC codes is paramount to healthcare professionals because it directly impacts reimbursement from Medicare Advantage and other payers. It plays a crucial role in reflecting the complexity of a patient’s condition that influences care management strategies. By taking a deeper look into the top eight HCC categories, their importance and the necessity for precise coding becomes even more obvious.


Understanding HCC Categories

Before diving into the specifics of HCC categories, it’s essential to understand what they are and how they are determined. HCC diagnosis codes are part of a classification system that organizes related International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes into categories representing conditions with similar healthcare needs and costs.

This hierarchical classification system ensures that patients with multiple conditions within a single category are only counted once, avoiding double-counting and ensuring that the risk adjustment is accurate. For instance, a patient with both heart failure and atrial fibrillation would only be counted once in the cardiovascular category.

The categories factor risk adjustment scores into the calculation, which Medicare and other payers use to modify reimbursements in accordance with the anticipated costs of care for a particular patient or population. For this reason, HCC categories play a crucial role in ensuring that healthcare providers are adequately reimbursed for the care they provide and that patients receive appropriate care based on their specific needs and complexities.


The Most Common HCC Categories

Let’s take a closer look into the categories that are used most frequently and wield a substantial impact not only on the financial aspect of healthcare but also on the overall management and organization of healthcare services.

Note that this list of the eight most frequently used HCC categories is not in any particular order:

  1. Diabetes with Chronic Complications (HCC 18)

This category includes different types of diabetes and complications ranging from kidney complications to lower-limb ulcers that diabetic patients often have.

  1. Other Significant Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders (HCC 23)

This encompasses different stages of chronic kidney disease that could potentially lead to significant healthcare needs and costs.

  1. Congestive Heart Failure (HCC 85)

This includes various types of heart failure, a condition that requires ongoing management and can lead to other circulation-related problems.

  1. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Bronchiectasis (HCC 111)

This category includes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis, both of which can lead to serious respiratory distress and other issues.

  1. Breast, Prostate, and Other Cancers and Tumors (HCC 12)

This category includes various types of cancer, each with its own unique set of treatment challenges and risks of recurrence.

  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis and Inflammatory Connective Tissue Disease (HCC 40)

This category includes conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, which can lead to quality-of-life issues.

  1. Major Depressive, Bipolar, and Paranoid Disorders (HCC 59)

This category also includes various psychiatric and mental health conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

  1. Specified Heart Arrhythmias (HCC 96)

This category includes an abnormal heart rhythm that occurs when the electrical impulses in the heart don’t function correctly.

It’s also important to note that these categories are not exhaustive and can change. However, these eight are particularly prevalent, making them critical focus areas for healthcare professionals.


Importance of Accurate Coding of Top HCC Categories

Accurate coding of the most commonly occurring HCC categories is of utmost importance because it directly influences several crucial aspects of healthcare. It impacts reimbursement from Medicare Advantage and other payers, affecting the resources available for patient care. 

Inaccurate coding can lead to underpayments for healthcare providers. It also aids in painting a complete picture of a patient’s health status, essential for developing comprehensive care plans.

Precise HCC coding is vital for an accurate risk adjustment score, which standardizes patient populations by accounting for differences in health status and complexity. This ensures fair comparisons of quality and cost performance and that providers are not penalized for treating sicker patients.


Tools for Managing HCC Coding

Accurate coding is not just a necessity, it’s a responsibility that affects every aspect of healthcare. With the Inferscience platform, you can ensure detailed and precise coding, paving the way for better patient care and more accurate reimbursements!

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