The Federal Government is rolling out a new disease coding system called ICD-10, designed to control the cost of treatment of diseases and injuries. The system is facing major push back from doctors across the country who complain that the it’s not just unwieldy but completely ridiculous. There’s also another danger in the new system: rationing.
from PBS (emphasis mine):
The U.S. health care system is ramping up to implement a massive new coding system called ICD-10. It’s a bland name for a system capable of coding thousands of colorful injuries. A full 68,000 to be exact, as opposed to the 13,000 under the current ICD-9. The codes are intended to help health care providers keep track of what happened to you, how much it should cost and what follow-up care you need.
Take these, straight from ICD-10:
Hurt at the opera: Y92253
Stabbed while crocheting: Y93D1
Walked into a lamppost: W2202XA
Walked into a lamppost, subsequent encounter: W2202XD
Submersion due to falling or jumping from crushed water skis: V9037XA
Even with the new descriptive phrases at their disposal, many health care providers strongly oppose the coding system. In December, the American Medical Association, 42 state medical organizations and 40 medical specialty groups,wrote a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Servicesto cancel implementation of the ICD-10 code set.
Not only do they say it will “create significant burdens on the practice of medicine with no direct benefit to individual patient care,” they also say ICD-10 will distract from other upcoming health information initiatives, including major ones tied to the health care reform law.
The complaints about the new coding system are just the latest in a mounting list of gripes doctors have with the federal government these days – particularly the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Notice the bit in there about “how much it should cost and what follow-up care you need.” This is the first step toward government rationing of healthcare. Did you get injured on a sidewalk? Well, then the ICD-10 system recommends that your treatment only cost $xxx.
The ICD-10 is not only an impractical burden on physicians, it’s dangerous for patients.