The purpose of this paper is to analyze the German diagnosis related groups (G-DRG) cost accounting scheme by assessing its resource allocation at hospital level and its tariff calculation at national level. First, the paper reviews and assesses the three steps in the G-DRG resource allocation scheme at hospital level: (1) the groundwork; (2) cost-center accounting; and (3) patient-level costing. Second, the paper reviews and assesses the three steps in G-DRG national tariff calculation: (1) plausibility checks; (2) inlier calculation; and (3) the 'one hospital' approach. The assessment is based on the two main goals of G-DRG introduction: improving transparency and efficiency. A further empirical assessment attests high costing quality. The G-DRG cost accounting scheme shows high system quality in resource allocation at hospital level, with limitations concerning a managerially relevant full cost approach and limitations in terms of advanced activity-based costing at patient-level. However, the scheme has serious flaws in national tariff calculation: inlier calculation is normative, and the one hospital model causes cost bias, adjustment and representativeness issues. The G-DRG system was designed for reimbursement calculation, but developed to a standard with strategic management implications, generalized by the idea of adapting a hospital's cost structures to DRG revenues. This combination causes problems in actual hospital financing, although resource allocation is advanced at hospital level.
hospital reimbursement hospital costs accounting resource allocation prospective payment system diagnosis related groups