September 15, 2011

Tell me where it hurts

The WSJ did a story and a fun interactive piece on the new federally mandated medical billing codes, that result in 140,000 codes to describe various medical conditions and treatments when 18,000 codes used to suffice.  Go here and play around with the search feature, see how many ridiculous - yet detailed enough for gummint work - codes the medical community is now forced to use via regulation.
It will also have a code for recording that a patient's injury occurred in a chicken coop. (See code.)
Indeed, health plans may never again wonder where a patient got hurt. There are codes for injuries in opera houses (see code), art galleries (see code), squash courts (see code) and nine locations in and around a mobile home (see codes), from the bathroom to the bedroom...
Some codes could seem downright insulting: R46.1 is "bizarre personal appearance (see code)," while R46.0 is "very low level of personal hygiene (see code)." 
Lowering the Bar highlighted the NINE different codes for injuries caused by turtles, ranging from bitten by turtle to struck by turtle to other contact with turtle.  Who knew that turtles were so dangerous?  They also show the 21 spacecraft related injuries.

I plugged 'fish' into the search window.  Three pages of comedy to be found there.  Someone, somewhere, apparently intentionally poisons themselves with toxic jelly fish (Toxic effect of contact with other jellyfish, intentional self-harm, initial encounter).

'Drowning' resulted in 375 results.  Our government isn't happy with a code or two for boat-realted accidental drowning, they feel the need to distinguish the type of boat (merchant, passenger, fishing, kayak, inflatable, sailboat, etc.) along with whether one went down with the ship, jumped, was thrown overboard or fell and whether the ship was crushed, burning, sinking, overturned or has struck another boat or object.

'Alcohol' was another eye-opening search.  Can someone help me understand why there would be codes for each specific range of blood alcohol level?  The test is the same, why must our insurance companies get that detailed amount of information?  Seems like a back door violation of the HIPPA laws.

I didn't have any luck finding a code for 'screwed by Obamacare', but I am not done looking, either.

1 comment:

CenTexTim said...

It's not a healthcare issue, it's part of obama's jobs program. Just think how many more administrative and bureaucratic positions will be needed to comply.