by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
On October 1, the US health care system has converted to an updated medical diagnosis coding system, formally known as ICD-10 (International Classification of Diseases – tenth edition). According to the Wall Street Journal, The World Health Organization will now dictate that providers classify ailments from a choice of roughly 70,000 codes – up from 14,000 under ICD-9.
The supposed reasoning behind the exponential increase is that providers can now submit more accurate claims and be paid accordingly as they now have more detailed codes. More codes will also help researchers better specify disease signs and symptoms. Others make one wonder how they even made the list. Stephen Hayes at the Weekly Standard reports:
Ever considered suicide by jellyfish? Have you ended up in the hospital after being injured during the forced landing of your spacecraft? Or been hurt when you were sucked into the engine of an airplane or when your horse-drawn carriage collided with a trolley?
Chances are slim.
But should any of these unfortunate injuries befall you, your doctor, courtesy of the federal government, will have a code to record it. On that date, the United States is scheduled to implement a new system for recording injuries, medical diagnoses, and inpatient procedures called ICD-10?—?the 10th version of the International Classification of Diseases propagated by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. So these exotic injuries, codeless for so many years, will henceforth be known, respectively, as T63622A (Toxic effect of contact with other jellyfish, intentional self-harm, initial encounter), V9542XA (Forced landing of spacecraft injuring occupant, initial encounter), V9733XA (Sucked into jet engine, initial encounter), and V80731A (Occupant of animal-drawn vehicle injured in collision with streetcar, initial encounter).