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To address the question of quantification of severity of illness on a wide scale, the Computerized Severity Index (CSI) was developed by a research team at the Johns Hopkins University. This article describes an initial assessment of some aspects of the validity and reliability of the CSI on a sample of 2,378 patients within 27 high-volume DRGs from five teaching hospitals. The 27 DRGs predicted 27% of the variation in LOS, while DRGs adjusted for Admission CSI scores predicted 38% and DRGs adjusted for Maximum CSI scores throughout the hospital stay predicted 54% of this variation. Thus, the Maximum CSI score increased the predictability of DRGs by 100%. We explored the impact of including a 7-day cutoff criterion along with the Maximum CSI score similar to a criterion used in an alternative severity of illness measure. The DRG/Maximum CSI score's predictive power increased to 63% when the 7-day cutoff was added to the CSI definition. The Admission CSI score was used to predict in-hospital mortality and correlated R = 0.603 with mortality. The reliability of Admission and Maximum CSI data collection was high, with agreement of 95% and kappa statistics of 0.88 and 0.90, respectively.