Frequently Asked Questions

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The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' (HHS) grant programs in general have requirements for both financial and programmatic performance reporting. Please refer to the Reporting Requirements section for additional details.

This minor software release, v2018.0.1, fixes two of the recently identified software discrepancies. Please refer to the v2018.0.1 release notes (PDF) for details.

Some additional changes to coding updates that are reflected in the v2018 software include:

  • The Pediatric Quality Indicator NQI 02 (Neonatal Mortality Rate) is suppressed (see Question 9 for more information).
  • The ABDOMIOPEN, ABDOMIPOTHER, and ABDOMI15P formats/setnames were updated to remove esophageal and other esophageal insertion procedures unlikely to be approached through the abdomen. The specifications for PSI 14 and PDI 11 (Postoperative Wound Dehiscence Rate), respectively for the adult and pediatric populations, and PSI 15 (Unrecognized Abdominopelvic Accidental Puncture or Laceration Rate) limit the denominator to abdominopelvic surgery discharges only.
  • The formats/setnames used in PDI 08 and PSI 09 (Perioperative Hemorrhage or Hematoma Rate) for pediatric and adult discharges were updated to better match the technical specifications. This includes removing ICD-10 PCS procedure codes in the HEMOTH2P format/setname for control of perioperative hemorrhage and evacuation of hematoma procedures for excision or drainage unrelated to hemorrhage or hematoma. The NEUROMD format identifying neuromuscular disorders updated diagnosis codes to specify respiratory involvement. Refer to the change logs for specific coding details.
  • Procedures that are no longer recognized as operating room procedures were removed from the ORPROC format.
  • Procedures used in the PDI 05 and PSI 06 (Iatrogenic Pneumothorax Rate for pediatrics and adults) to identify thoracic surgery in the THORAIP format/setname were updated to exclude low risk procedures or procedures that are unlikely to cause non-preventable pneumothorax.
  • Diagnosis codes that are exempt from present on admission (POA) classification in the v35 CMS grouper were added to POA exempt format.

No. Because of the transition to ICD-10-CM/PCS, risk adjustment is not supported in the v2018 software. At least one full year of data coded in ICD-10-CM/PCS is needed to develop robust risk adjustment models for the ICD-10-CM/PCS compatible software. AHRQ will not have a full year of ICD-10-CM/PCS coded all-payer data until the summer of 2018.

All measures that use the ICD-10 CM/PCS coding standards may see some variation in rates resulting from the transition in coding systems. AHRQ recommends using v2018 rates as a starting point for internal assessment and not for comparison across providers. Users may review discharge-level results to determine if evidence in the administrative record indicates occurrence of an adverse event.

Further information about the ICD-10- CM/PCS transition and use of administrative data is available at:

The CMS Recalibrated PSI software v8.0 uses AHRQ QI software v7.0.1 as its base and is risk-adjusted for Medicare FFS population only. This CMS Recalibrated PSI software v8.0, is being used as a part of CMS’s Inpatient Quality Reporting Program (IQR), Value-Based Purchasing Program (VBP), and Hospital-Acquired Conditions Program (HAC). While the AHRQ QI software v2018 ICD-10 CM/PCS is intended for an all payer population and nonrisk adjusted. The v2018 SAS QI and WinQI software releases include all four modules with annual coding updates for fiscal year 2018.

Quality Indicator(QI) users with the v2018 AHRQ QI software do not need to make any changes. In the v2018 QI software population file, AHRQ has changed the process to use single year age bands provided by the U.S. Census based on county vintage estimates for 2000 through 2017.

The AHRQ QI Program discovered that the QI population files (v7.0 1995-2017 population file) contained some inaccurate county-level, age-, sex-, and race-specific population estimates beginning with the 2012 calendar year. The inaccurate population estimates affect the rates of all area-level indicators only and does not affect any provider level indicators. The inaccurate population estimates also affects rates of the following area-level indicators retired in v7.0:

  • Prevention Quality Indicators (PQIs), and area-level Pediatric Quality Indicators (PDI 14-PDI 18, PDI 90-PDI 92).
  • Patient Safety Indicators (PSI 21-PSI 27).
  • Inpatient Quality Indicators (IQI 26-IQI 29).

The updated QI population file is available as a downloadable zipped file.

AHRQ provides the software to any interested organization for use with their own hospital discharge data. The Quality Indicators software is designed to read hospital administrative discharge data that generally conforms to HCUP specifications, in which each hospitalization is reported on a single record.

The software expects that the DRG or ICD-9 code on any given discharge record is valid for the fiscal year of the discharge date. The software is designed to be backwards compatible with previous fiscal year versions. The AHRQ QI software is intended to be used with data that cover an entire patient population (e.g., all discharges from a hospital in a year) or that were sampled from a patient population using simple random sample.

The software only accepts three common data formats: Text (comma separated values), Microsoft Access®, and Microsoft Excel®. Two key formatting issues are that each row of data represents a separate discharge record and each column of data represents a single variable for all discharges.

The support email address for the AHRQ Quality Indicators is

The AHRQ Quality Indicators support team can also be reached by phone in the USA at (301) 427-1949. Messages are responded to within three business days.

For information on preparing for surgery, go to the Getting Ready for Your Ambulatory Surgery brochure.

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