Thursday, April 25, 2013

Bitten By A Duck

Occasionally, I come across something so bizarre that I have to wonder if it is fiction. Here's a great example of what happens when government gets involved in healthcare...

It turns out that the government has a book (ICD-10) of medical codes that doctors have to use when billing Medicare and other third-party payers for their services. One of the codes is W61.61XA which means "bitten by a duck"W61.62XA means "struck by a duck".

ICD-10 stands for the International Statistical Classification of Diseases. The "10" means that this is the 10th Revision. ICD-9 contains outdated and obsolete terms, doesn't capture enough data about a patient's condition and fails to describe the current medical practice. The people who create the codes were running out of new numbers and letters in the ICD-9 system. With ICD-10, physicians can more specifically identify the area of concern. But the changes make the new version nearly five times larger than the old one. It is expected that next year's book will be ten times larger. Is it any wonder that healthcare costs continue to rise.

Now, if you are "bitten by a dolphin, a shark or a duck", there's a code for the initial encounter and subsequent encounter (if there is one). They are more descriptive and detailed. One is for "walking into a lamppost". Others for "walking into a wall or a piece of furniture". There is even one for "burned due to water-skis catching fire" (V91.07XA). Most of us would be hard put to make this stuff up.


Sunny Weathers said...

Silly me - I never even realized that ducks had teeth!

Jim Brown said...

I'm still wondering how many people have been "burned due to water-skis catching fire".