Saturday, September 17, 2011

New Medical Code Expansion

Today, hospitals and doctors use a system of about 18,000 codes to describe medical services in bills they send to insurers. Apparently, that doesn't allow for quite enough nuance.

A new federally mandated version will expand the number to around 140,000—adding codes that describe precisely what bone was broken, or which artery is receiving a stent.  It will also have a code for recording that a patient's injury occurred in a chicken coop, or if you walked into a lamppost. 

Riddle:  what’s the only thing worse than being a W22.02XA?
Answer:  being a W22.02XD.   (Explanation:  in the new ICD-10 list of medical diagnoses, a W22.02XA is “walked into lamppost, initial encounter.”  A W22.02XD is “walked into lamppost, subsequent encounter.”

Read more here or here.  Really!  I am not kidding.  The info is from the Wall Street Journal Online.

Perhaps we need one generic code for what ails you.  W01.01AA.  Sin.  If we used this we might be able to consolidate some of the other intermediate causes and go directly to the source.  Ya think!


Sage said...

I deal with this nonsense every day at work. It's unfortunately part of my job to back track and see if a coder mis-coded something (although we use software that thinks for them). When it's miscoded it sets off a whole plethora of insanity that affects all kinds of quality measures.

Most people don't realize that hospitals are reimbursed depending upon how they treat certain conditions. Those are determined by coding which the .gov ferrets out of our billing and is sent ultimately on to a national database. Pneumonia, heart failure, surgery antibiotics, VTE, Normothermia, sepsis, stroke...the list goes on and on.

If you are being treated for a medical condition, your data is in a huge database or two that determines policy for medical treatment. And yes, we determine if what ails you was "present on admission" or it happened while under our care. They do want to know if you walked into that lamp pole by accident or did you have a syncopal episode from a total heart block and fall over onto it. See, makes sense now right??? Right.

It's Saturday and thankfully, I'm home, not at work and now I'm going to look for a post about something other than medical news that makes my heart race and my blood pressure skyrocket. :-)

ReWatt said...

Do they have a code for walking into a lamp post on purpose?

Sage said...

Only accidentally. ;-)

Segfault Reloaded said...

In my earlier pre-Christian life I walked into a lamp post on Bourbon Street, NOLA, because it moved suddenly and hit me right in the face. (That's a joke. I walked into it because I had consumed 2 hurricanes about 20 minutes prior. No harm, but true. I stopped that kind of alcohol consumption about 2 months later.)

John McDermott
Annandale, Virginia

Unknown said...

Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.

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Unknown said...

W22.02XA is the Walked into lamppost, initial encounter comes under ICD-10 CM. This coding is widely used in the healthcare. The Medical Coding procedure helps to describe the diseases, injuries, symptoms and conditions. This billing codes are used for reimbursement claim.

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