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Hurt at the Opera? There's an ICD-10 Code for That

Posted on October 7th, 2015

On October 1, 2015, the medical industry launched ICD-10 in the U.S.  ICD-10, which stands for the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision, is a medical classification system adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO). Simply put, it’s an international coding system that requires physicians, hospitals and other medical providers to assign a unique number for every patient disease, diagnosis, abnormal finding, cause of injury, etc. The primary purpose of the coding system is to provide valuable data to medical researchers which will in turn lead to improved quality of care.  Sounds great, but the transition to ICD-10 is not without controversy.   

The U.S. is currently using ICD-9 which has about 18,000 different medical codes. The adoption of ICD-10 will grow that number by more than seven times to around 140,000 codes.  ICD-10 is a much more detailed coding system that will create some additional administrative costs. Medical providers will need to invest in new technology and provide additional training to staff.  Some experts project it will cost an additional $27,000 per physician to implement ICD-10. The administrative costs would likely be passed down to patients leading to increased health care costs, at least in the short-term.  

On the other hand, ICD-10 is expected be of great value for public health and to medical researchers, and it may lead to improved care and reduced medical expenses in the long-run.  Only time will tell if the short-term costs to implement ICD-10 will outweigh the long-term benefits. 

If you’re wondering what an ICD-10 code will look like and examples of what the code translates into, here are a few rather interesting examples:

  • Y92.253 = Hurt at the opera 
  • W55.21 = Bitten by a cow
  • V00.01 = Pedestrian on foot injured in collision with roller-skater
  • Z63.1 = Problems in relationship with in-laws
  • V91.07 = Burn due to water-skis on fire

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The materials contained within this communication are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal or tax advice.

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