Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Recording Is Worse Than The Disease

Whenever a doctor hospital bills your insurance, they describe services rendered as one of 18,000 codes.

Starting on October 1, 2013 a federal mandate will explode that number to 140,000.

You'd everyone just grew several additional organs with an increase like that, but no. All the new codes come from a new level of detail. An astonishing level of detail. No, a ludicrous level. Here are some examples:

Code Y9272: Patient's injuries occurred near a chicken coop
Code Y92250: Or near an art gallery
Codes V00322A, V00322D, and V00322S: Snow-skier colliding with stationary object, initial encounter, subsequent encounter, and sequela (respectively)
Code Y93C1: Injury occurred while using a keyboard
Code E344: Ailment occurred due to being tall
Code E344: Bizarre personal appearance is covered by this code

It also covers that all-important difference from being "struck" and "pecked" by a chicken and seven ways to classify "mental retardation" (including "profound!").

Figuring out why we have new regulations means adhering to the time-old adage "follow the money." But here, it's not clear who benefits. Perhaps, fearing austerity measures, regulators can now point to all the additional stuff they have to keep track of?