The diagnostic codes for doctors, the way we communicate with insurance companies about what the hell is wrong with you, changed yesterday. After decades of using what is called ICD-9 all physicians in the US were required to change to ICD-10.
ICD-9 worked just fine, it seemed. Now it is this confusing jumble of letters and numbers and designations arranged into “chapters” that have left me wondering what was wrong with the old way anyway? Still, I am sure there was a good reason. The government always has a good reason….
Hospitals and some outpatient practices have been so terrified about the disruption that they have taken out loans in the millions, expecting insurance companies will be delaying or refusing payments for months as we all sort this out.
Staff still needs to get paid, you know?
So, there is the change itself. Change is always hard. It is magnified 2,000 times, however, when your electronic health record does not have a clue what it is doing: tons of errors, system crashes, and three times the work to get the correct code. Seriously. You would not believe the stupidity we have to go through for each patient and each problem on the list. Colossal waste of time.
I was lucky that yesterday was my half day. Today? Not so much.
The thing that really gets to me, though, is that it was not like this was a surprise. It has been looming ahead for years. So why can’t they/we be adequately prepared for it?
Sooooooo….. If you are in the US and you are visiting your doctor in the next few weeks or months, give them a few words of encouragement. We are terribly sorry if you have to wait longer for your appointment or if you get incorrect bills or if everyone in the office seems crabby and disconnected.
Pardon me…. my left eye is twitching…