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  • David E. Marcinko [Editor-in-Chief]

    As a former Dean and appointed University Professor and Endowed Department Chair, Dr. David Edward Marcinko MBA was a NYSE broker and investment banker for a decade who was respected for his unique perspectives, balanced contrarian thinking and measured judgment to influence key decision makers in strategic education, health economics, finance, investing and public policy management.

    Dr. Marcinko is originally from Loyola University MD, Temple University in Philadelphia and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in PA; as well as Oglethorpe University and Emory University in Georgia, the Atlanta Hospital & Medical Center; Kellogg-Keller Graduate School of Business and Management in Chicago, and the Aachen City University Hospital, Koln-Germany. He became one of the most innovative global thought leaders in medical business entrepreneurship today by leveraging and adding value with strategies to grow revenues and EBITDA while reducing non-essential expenditures and improving dated operational in-efficiencies.

    Professor David Marcinko was a board certified surgical fellow, hospital medical staff President, public and population health advocate, and Chief Executive & Education Officer with more than 425 published papers; 5,150 op-ed pieces and over 135+ domestic / international presentations to his credit; including the top ten [10] biggest drug, DME and pharmaceutical companies and financial services firms in the nation. He is also a best-selling Amazon author with 30 published academic text books in four languages [National Institute of Health, Library of Congress and Library of Medicine].

    Dr. David E. Marcinko is past Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious “Journal of Health Care Finance”, and a former Certified Financial Planner® who was named “Health Economist of the Year” in 2010. He is a Federal and State court approved expert witness featured in hundreds of peer reviewed medical, business, economics trade journals and publications [AMA, ADA, APMA, AAOS, Physicians Practice, Investment Advisor, Physician’s Money Digest and MD News] etc.

    Later, Dr. Marcinko was a vital and recruited BOD  member of several innovative companies like Physicians Nexus, First Global Financial Advisors and the Physician Services Group Inc; as well as mentor and coach for Deloitte-Touche and other start-up firms in Silicon Valley, CA.

    As a state licensed life, P&C and health insurance agent; and dual SEC registered investment advisor and representative, Marcinko was Founding Dean of the fiduciary and niche focused CERTIFIED MEDICAL PLANNER® chartered professional designation education program; as well as Chief Editor of the three print format HEALTH DICTIONARY SERIES® and online Wiki Project.

    Dr. David E. Marcinko’s professional memberships included: ASHE, AHIMA, ACHE, ACME, ACPE, MGMA, FMMA, FPA and HIMSS. He was a MSFT Beta tester, Google Scholar, “H” Index favorite and one of LinkedIn’s “Top Cited Voices”.

    Marcinko is “ex-officio” and R&D Scholar-on-Sabbatical for iMBA, Inc. who was recently appointed to the MedBlob® [military encrypted medical data warehouse and health information exchange] Advisory Board.



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Case Model Illustration of a Six Sigma Healthcare Pioneer

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The Mount Carmel Health System

By Mark Matthews MD

A “Scrubbed” True Illustration

One of the earliest healthcare adopters of Six Sigma was the Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus, Ohio.

The organization was barely breaking even in the summer of 2000 when competition from surrounding providers made things worse. Employee layoffs added fuel to an already all-time low employee morale.


Chief Executive Officer Joe Calvaruso was determined to stem the bleeding, break the cycle of poor financial performance and return the hospital system to profitability.  He sought the potential benefits of Six Sigma and began a full deployment of its methodology. The plan was a bold move, as the organization ensured that no one would be terminated as a result of a Six Sigma project having eliminated his or her previous duties. These employees would be offered an alternative position in a different department. Moreover, top personnel were asked to leave their current positions to be trained and work full time as Six Sigma expert practitioners who would oversee project deployment while their positions were backfilled.


The Six Sigma deployment was the right decision. More than 50 projects were initiated with significant success. An example of an early Mount Carmel success story is the dramatic improvement in their Medicare + Choice product reimbursements, previously written off as uncollectible accounts. These accounts were often denied by HCFA due to coding of those patients as “working aged.”

Since the treatment process status often changed in these patients, HCFA often rejected claims or lessened reimbursement amounts, effectively making coding a difficult and elusive problem. The employment of the Six Sigma process fixed the problem, resulting in a real gain of $857,000 to the organization. The spillover of this methodology to other coding parameters also has dramatically boosted revenue collection.

A Glimpse of Lean Medical Management Tools and Techniques


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Understanding the Medicare Prospective Payment System

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Origins of Diagnostic Related Groups

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™


The Medicare Prospective Payment System (PPS) was introduced by the federal government in October, 1 1983, as a way to change hospital behavior through financial incentives that encourage more cost-efficient management of medical care. Under PPS, hospitals are paid a pre-determined rate for each Medicare admission. Each patient was classified into a diagnosis-related group (DRG) on the basis of clinical information. Except for certain patients with exceptionally high costs (“outliers”), the hospital is paid a flat rate for the DRG, regardless of the actual services provided.

Enter the DRGs

Each Medicare patient is classified into a DRG according to information from the medical record that appears on the bill:

  • principal diagnosis (why the patient was admitted);
  • complications and co-morbidities (other secondary diagnoses);
  • surgical procedures;
  • age and patient gender; and
  • discharge disposition (routine, transferred, or expired).

Medical Records DocumentationMedical Records

Diagnoses and procedures must be documented by the attending physician in the patient’s medical record. They are then coded by hospital personnel using ICD-9-CM nomenclature. This is a numerical coding scheme of over 13,000 diagnoses and more than 5,000 procedures. The coding process is extremely important since it essentially determines what DRG will be assigned for a patient. Coding an incorrect principal diagnosis or failing to code a significant secondary diagnosis can dramatically affect reimbursement.

DRG Categories

Originally, there were more than 490 DRG categories defined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS, formerly known as the Health Care Financing Administration [HCFA]). Each category was designed to be “clinically coherent.” In other words, all patients assigned to a DRG are deemed to have a similar clinical condition. The PPS is based on paying the average cost for treating patients in the same DRG.  Each year CMS makes technical adjustments to the DRG classification system that incorporates new technologies (e.g., laparoscopic procedures) and refines its use as a payment methodology. CMS also initiates changes to the ICD-9-CM coding scheme. The DRG assignment process is computerized in a program called the “grouper” that is used by hospitals and fiscal intermediaries. It was last significantly updated by CMS in 2006.


Each year CMS also assigns a relative weight to each DRG. These weights indicate the relative costs for treating patients during the prior year.  The national average charge for each DRG is compared to the overall average. This ratio is published annually in the Federal Register for each DRG. A DRG with a weight of 2.0000, for example, means that charges were historically twice the average; a DRG with a weight of 0.5000 was half the average; and so on.


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Defining Current Procedural Terminology [CPT®] Codes

What they are – How they work

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The American Medical Association’s Physicians’ Current Procedural Terminology® is contained in the CPT user guide. The maintenance of these codes is the responsibility of the American Medical Association with consultation from the AMA CPT Editorial Panel, Advisory Committee, and the AMA CPT Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee. Procedure codes in the CPT user guide are reviewed and revised annually. The Health Care Financing Administration’s – now CMS – Common Procedure Coding System [HCPCS] lists three levels:  

Level I National Codes

CPT codes are five-character, all numeric configurations (e.g., 99215). Contact the American Medical Association to obtain a current copy of the CPT® Users Manual.

Level II National Codes

The HCPCS Level II National codes are contained in the HCPCS user’s guide and are published in the Federal Register. The maintenance of these codes is the responsibility of the Health Care Financing Administration [CMS]. Procedure codes in the HCPCS user guide are reviewed and revised annually. HCPCS codes are five characters with one alpha and four numeric configurations (e.g., A0042). Contact any publishing company that provides medical coding reference books to obtain a current copy of the current HCPCS User Manual.

Level III Medicare Local Codes*

Historically, local Medicare carriers developed local procedure codes which were published in the local Medicare Newsletters. The maintenance of these codes was the responsibility of the local Medicare carrier. Medicare local procedure codes were all five-character configurations with the following alpha/numeric configuration: one alpha, (W, X, Y or Z) with four numeric configurations (e.g., Y5523); and two alphas, (W, X, Y or Z) same character with three numeric identifiers (e.g., XX001). Contact your local Medicare carriers to obtain their Medicare Newsletters.

* Note: Due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requirements, Medicare Local codes and the Office of Medicare Assistance Program Unique [OMAPU] codes were replaced with national standard procedure codes. 


For more terminology information, please refer to the Dictionary of Health Economics and Finance.


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