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Federally-Mandated Medical Coding Gums Up IT Ops 254

Lucas123 writes "The change over from a medical coding system in use since the 1970s to an updated version that adds more than 50,000 new 7-character codes is being compared to Y2K as an IT project that is nearly impossible to complete on time. ICD-10, which replaces ICD-9, adds far more granularity to medical diagnosis and treatment. For example, ICD-9 has one code for a finger amputation. In contrast, ICD-10 has a code for every finger and every section of every finger. An 'unfunded mandate,' the change over to ICD-10 codes is a multi-year project for hospitals, state Medicaid organizations, and insurance providers. The effort, which affects dozens of core systems, is taxing IT operational budgets at a time when shops are already under the gun to implement electronic health records."
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Federally-Mandated Medical Coding Gums Up IT Ops

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  • Re:Cry me a river (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Gideon Wells ( 1412675 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @08:56AM (#36434526)

    More and more I keep hearing "unfunded mandate" or "harsh deadline", but experience is translating it as "I waited till the last minute and now I'm screwed."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @09:04AM (#36434606)

    I don't see any "sense" in adding codes merely to tell the doctor which finger was amputated. All he has to do is LOOK and see for himself which finger is missing. This is typical government "make work" bureaucracy that makes no more sense than going-round and busting windows to boost construction jobs.

    It's also what bankrupted the treasury and led to the downfall of the Roman Empire (according to one historical theory).

    I had a finger amputated. Tell me which one. Go on, just LOOK, after all, that's obvious, right?
    Not like there's ever a situation where that information, individually or aggregated, might be useful to anyone in the spheres of research, information or analysis, without the patient in front of them, waving. And if it is, we can just line up all the amputees and they can look at them one at a time.
    Alternatively, maybe it'd be handy to code this stuff up.
    Just be grateful its ICD and not SNOMED CT, which contains over a million medical concepts.

  • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Tuesday June 14, 2011 @10:04AM (#36435290)

    This is a misconception. The United States has the ighest share of private spending per individual on health care, yet it has the highest costs and only middling health outcomes [].

    Every system in the developed world has a private spending component, usually through insurance and copays just like here, but most also have a government payer either as the single payer or more commonly as a backstop, last resort payer; all systems more firmly regulate costs and practices and all systems at least have independent boards to assure efficacy of treatments (we call those "death panels.") There's no empirical evidence that people make rational decisions about their own health care spending.

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments