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Health care faces Diagnostic Codemageddon on October 1

Train wreck

On October 1, health care providers are mandated to start using 100,000 new diagnostic codes, something the New York Times says has “potential benefits”, without explaining why. I’m a software developer with years of experience in data conversion and building new systems and in my estimation, the Train Wreck Possibility factor here is reaching very close to 100%.

One code may be replaced by dozens of new options codes in the new system. Most medical practices have employees who specialize in entering diagnostic codes and filing insurance claims. Somehow, they are supposed to be up to speed on thousands on new codes on October 1, as is their software. Health care providers are getting extended lines of credit because they expect payments will be slow and the situation chaotic, at least for a while.

Did a diabetic also have kidney disease, eye problems or nerve damage? Did a patient with high blood pressure also have signs of congestive heart failure? Was that broken finger on the left or right hand? Was the fracture in the top, bottom or middle of the finger?

Was the patient bitten by a horse, a snake or a shark? Pecked by a turkey? Crushed by a crocodile? (Code W58.13.) Or sucked into a jet engine? (Code V97.33.)

If you have a medical procedure coming up, you might want to schedule it before October 1.

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