Yesterday, the United States joined the rest of the world with its adoption of the International Classification of Disease codes, Revision 10.
Originally designed for statistical purposes, the ICD is now the de facto database organizing protocol for the US medical billing system. Medicaid, Medicare and now all private insurers are transitioning to the new system. There is a one-year grace period.
How dangerous is this world, anyway?
This change is very important, and even before it is in full use, it provides some important insight into the dangers we face. So as a public service, we at SafelyFiled want you to know some of the potential dangers you face. We didn't make these up. The ICD must actually consider these a risk, otherwise there would be no code for them.
For example, you could be injured and if your injuries were coded as V54.1XXA and V91.07XA, it was because you were struck by a dog and burned while on water skis. Don't believe me? Take a look at these screenshots below. My questions are, "How did the dog hit you? Did he jump out of the boat? And what did you use to get your skis to burn?"
Or perhaps you joined a competitive knitting team and in your rush to win you stabbed yourself in the right eye. There are codes for that too. Just check out these two below:
It might get a bit dicey for a while
Two days ago, your doctor had 14,000 possible codes. Now, it's 68,000. We can expect some mistakes, and in the coming months there will be some pretty funny articles on the internet about the mistakes. But those articles might not be funny if you have a claim denied by your insurer because the injury you sustained while at the opera (yes, there's a code for that) was coded as having happened while at work.
So you might want to keep track of things yourself.
It's not just about your health, it's also about your money
In the US, we rely on private insurers (plus Medicare and Medicaid) to reimburse our healthcare providers. But if they don't cover your expenses, then you are on the hook. Sure, if there's a coding error that causes a claim to be denied, you can likely get things straightened out, but it might take a year, or more. In the meantime if bill collectors call, wanting reimbursement, you might need access to records that prove that mistake. And what better and quicker way to have access than to go to your own database? Take charge. Don't rely solely on the people who made the mistake in the first place.
It's also about your security
Your medical records contain a lot of information about you, so you'll want to make sure they are well-protected. If you keep them online in your own database, make sure they are encrypted, both in storage and during transmission. And make sure that you can control access to them. If the company with whom you store the records can access them whenever they want, consider changing companies.
Make sure you can input both digital and paper records, since in many instances the first record, especially if an injury, is in paper form. And make sure you can organize and search for them easily. Going through hundreds of pages of records can be very time consuming, so much so that you might be tempted to pay an unjustified claim rather than go through the trouble of producing the documents to prove you were right.
Finally, with all the government and health insurer security breaches reported, who knows if your records can get changed? Downloading a copy of a digital report (not just a link) can preserve your records in original form. So if someone goes into the insurer or government system and makes a change, or even deletes a file, you will have a very good record of the original, unchanged record.
There are some good companies out there that can help you with these records. We hope you consider looking into SafelyFiled.
Be careful out there
There might be a code for "head trauma, sequela, self inflicted, sustained as a result of banging head on desk while trying to resolve a health insurance claim." We just hope you have your own records so you never have to report this type of injury.