Medical Tuesday Blog
ICD 10 Goes Into Effect This Month And I Closed My Office
We have been using ICD 9, the ninth edition of the International Classification of Diseases for the last 40 or 50 years. Each disease is classified into one of 16,000 identity classes so that doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, pharmacies are also speaking of the same identical disease. This was a logical and appropriate classification to make sure we’re all on the same page. This was a civil matter.
In the 1980s, Medicare made these a criminal matter when they started fining doctors and hospitals for using the wrong code. They alleged that this variation indicated over coding, using a higher code to collect more money. I know of one physician in Sacramento who spent 22 months in jail for alleged over coding when he didn’t understand the codes and deferred them to his office manager. In retrospect, he was not doing this for money, because he never changed his charges for the same service. I know of one surgeon in San Diego who spent 65 months in prison for his coding errors. In retrospect, it turns out this his own attorney did not understand the issues.
When we understood that the ICD 10 had 68,000 codes we became concerned. The stats on the ICD 9 was that 59% of physicians disagreed with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), we knew that Medicare would be able to prosecute up to 59% of us as their powers progressed. So when the notices were sent that ICD 10 would become effective this month, October 1, 2015, we decided there probably was no possible way to be compliant with 68,000 codes if most of us could not comply with the prior 16,000 codes. When this announcement was made in Oct 2014 that the ICD 10 would become effective on Oct 1, 2015, we decided we would close our office at that time. And we proceeded and closed our office on October 1, 2015, and haven’t looked back once. I have been able to cut back on one of my high blood pressure pills and eliminate my Prozac because the pressure and depression just disappeared.
During the last few years of the Obamacare edicts coming out almost every week from the insurance and HMO companies, we have been unable to keep up with our newsletters. So this is one of the last one of 2015 which we are completing having only put isolated ideas in them over the past two years. We will now roar back to be an effective enlightenment of health care as we see it going down the tubes and hope to resurrect it.