Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's The Code For "This Is Ridiculous"?

Let's all give a big welcome to the federal government! According to the Wall Street Journal, there is now a federally mandated version of medical codes. And that brings the total of medical codes up from 18,000 to a whopping 140,000. Let's hear it for the meddling government! Give it up!

Am I the only one who is wondering why the federal government is having anything to do at all with the privatized billing systems of healthcare providers and insurance providers? It's not a federal system, right? Why are there federal regulations all of a sudden? And why in the world did the number of codes suddenly increase by almost eight times? Well, it's probably because the old system didn't account for some of the more serious and obviously likely injuries. You know. Like the perils of crocheting. I s*** you not.

Medical code Y93D1 indicates that you were injured by an activity. Specifically, knitting or crocheting. How is that even possible? Sure, those knitting needles are pointy, but what in the hell are you doing with them that you are going to injure yourself to the point of needing medical attention (and your very only medical code to boot!)? I did a little Googling and I've concluded that it IS possible to impale one's buttocks by sitting on a knitting needle. But that's not the specific activity of knitting which is what the description of the code implies. Wait. Wasn't there a scene in East of Eden where one of the characters tries to give herself an abortion with a knitting needle? That sounds like it would cause injury. But once again, NOT knitting. AND, in this instance, fictional, so that's really a bad example. Let's look at some other new codes.

There are several codes that begin with V9 and they are very concerned with water skis and the accidents that can result from them. If only these accidents made any sense (or had any chance in hell of actually happening) then it might be useful. But seriously, how many times do you think anyone has EVER experienced a V9107XA, "Burn due to water-skis on fire, initial encounter"?! Water skis on fire?! They're IN the WATER. Who came up with these codes? Wile E. Coyote?!

There are also codes in case you're ever bitten by a myriad of animals, including but not limited to turtles and orcas! Look, aside from that chick that got eaten by the killer whale at Sea World a while ago, how often is it necessary that we deal with orca bites? I'm guessing not enough for them to warrant their own code! What's wrong with "Bitten by animal - other"? And I'm dying to know about these people who are getting bit by turtles. I've HAD turtles. Their bite is not code worthy!

I really enjoy that they have not one, not two, but three codes in case you've walked into a lamppost! There's the initial encounter, the subsequent encounter and the sequela (which apparently means that you've suffered a grotesque injury as a result of all of your lamppost colliding). Seems like with something like this that there needs to be a subsection for indicating whether or not alcohol was involved. (And really, if you're bumping into a lamppost more than once and to the point of injury, doesn't alcohol have to be involved? If it's not, you really should be wearing a helmet whenever you leave the house.) There's even a section in case you get crushed between a canoe or a kayak and some other sort of "watercraft or object". I wonder what they'd code it as if the other "object" was that orca I had mentioned earlier. OR the turtle. I guess maybe they cross reference?

Do you see how ridiculous this is? Of course you do! You do. I do. EVERYONE does except for the people who are in charge of this crap. Why is the federal government making medical codes anyway? That's what I want to know. Who bribed who? Who needed to work to do in order to keep their job? Why does this keep happening? And how much did all of this cost?! In case you've been blissfully unaware, we kinda don't have a lot of money to throw around these days! Aren't there other, more pressing items that need to be attended to before our country falls off of a cliff or into the jaws of an orca? Apparently not.

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