The updated version dubbed ICD-10 contains bizarre and hilarious conditions including being sucked into a jet engine, spending too much time in a weightless environment, being pecked by a chicken, having troubles with the in-laws, and being the victim of an assault by hockey stick.
There is a medical diagnosis for almost everything, and doctors must use the new system starting Thursday. But transitioning to the updated set of codes has its challenges. Medical staffers need to pay extra attention because a missing letter or a wrong number may mean that they don’t get paid.
This is why, people have complained about the new codes, poked fun at them or both on social media. There is even a picture book with the new ICD-10 codes that sold like hot cakes. And many codes are plain hilarious though the condition they describe is far from being a joy. For instance, there is even a code for ‘struck by orca,’ or ‘struck by a makaw.’
Though the codes are nearly invisible to patients, they are crucial to doctor-insurer interaction. The updated code system contains 56,000 new codes for doctors and 68,000 additional codes for hospitals.
The federal government argued that the change was necessary because the old codes did not reflect the reality of our days, while other codes where either incomplete or outdated. But for every disease or condition there are dozens of codes that depict what happened in deep detail.
For instance, there are dozens of codes for a fractured tibia based on the location of the fracture. Additionally, if you were poisoned from eating mushrooms, there are nearly 20 codes that can describe your situation.
And private insurers can deny forms that lack codes or have the wrong codes. In four states, procedures will give doctors even more headaches. Because of obsolete billing procedures, Montana, California, Louisiana, and Maryland are allowed to use the old code system ICD-9 until they manage to upgrade.
California pledged it would complete the upgrade by 2017. In Southern California alone, the transition to the new system will cost the government up to $25 million as 30 computer networks need to be revamped, and nearly 10,000 people trained.
ICD-10 is based on World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases guidelines.
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