Attention graduates! If you’re looking for a career with a ton of job prospects, look no further than an International Classification of Diseases Coder. This fun and fulfilling career will take you into new worlds of diagnosis, laterality, specificity, and nitpicky-ness as you dive into thousands of columns of numbers and qualifiers.
You’ll even get to call doctors and harass them any time you want. Sign up for your free brochure and get started on the career of your dreams now!
Yes, friends, after two years of delays, ICD-10 is coming to a doctor near you on October 1st. Mark your calendars. To review:
So, why do we need new codes? What’s wrong with the old ones? About 100,000 things. That’s the number of new ICD codes that have been created. These new codes require much more specific information. Now your broken arm is classified according the type (open or closed), pattern (spiral or oblique etc.), etiology (how it happened), healing status (in subsequent visits), localization (head, neck, distal, proximal) displacement, classification (Colle’s vs Salter-Harris etc.) and laterality (right or left). Because breaking your left arm is pretty cheap but breaking the right will cost you, I guess.
In ICD-10 your broken arm makes you an S52. Which is, of course, way cooler. If you broke the distal (far) end of your radius you are an 813.4 in ICD-9 but in ICD-10 you could an S52.51 or S52.52 depending on which arm. You could also be an S52.516 or S52.519 or S53.517, depending on alignment and classification. If this is the first time you are being seen for your broken arm you might be an S52.511A.
The purpose of all this, say the experts, is more specific data collection. Here’s the New York Times: http://nyti.ms/1UQ5p6t
The new codes will…make it easier for insurers and federal officials to measure the results of treatment and the quality of care — factors increasingly used in deciding how much to pay doctors and hospitals. Public health officials say the new codes will help them identify outbreaks of disease, causes of death and community health needs. Researchers say the data will help them evaluate new treatments and procedures.
I would also add that coding companies and healthcare data companies will also benefit greatly.
OK, you say, but the actual dollar reimbursement amounts won’t change, so who cares? Let the coders take care of it. Doctors care. Alot. Who do you think is recording all this extra data? Doctors. The amount of information about the patient that the doctor knows doesn’t always change, but how much of it has to be documented does. It is all about documentation. If that coder doesn’t see it written down somewhere, that coder will call the doctor, or code wrong. If they code wrong, the doctor doesn’t get paid and the bill goes to you, the patient. There is no short-term benefit for the doctor, but the documentation required goes up significantly. ICD-10 gathers more data. Doctors do the gathering and the typing. Which is what we went to medical school for. Time magazine has an article this month on doctor burnout. No wonder.