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Code word for health care: stat

CamerBruce W.

Cameron, Bruce W.

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Updated: November 11, 2011 5:34PM



Good news for doctors! Under federal mandate, they will no longer be forced to pick from 18,000 numerical claim codes when filing an insurance claim for an office visit. Now, the number of claim codes will be 140,000.

That’s a 678 percent increase in codes, which right there should end our unemployment problems in this country — every able-bodied person will be spending all their time looking up code numbers.

As a result of these refined codes, there will also be a 678 percent increase in the quality of medical care. For example, one of the codes is for “burns due to water skis on fire.” Heck, did we even know this was a problem before? Now, due to these refined codes, we can stop the epidemic of burning water skis in mid-slalom. “Quick, throw some water on those water skis before they send someone to the hospital!”

I spent some time reading the database of these refined codes. I’m trying to memorize them so that when I call the doctor, I don’t have to waste time explaining what has happened to me, I can just say, “Doc, it’s a case of Y93G1,” and she’ll say, “Get to the ER, stat!”

Y93G1 is, of course, “injured while crocheting.” And “stat” is a word that means, “I am a doctor so I don’t say ‘fast.’” Now, anyone who has ever suffered from a Y93G1 can tell you that if your treatment is non-stat, you could conceivably die from it, though no one can fully explain how. It’s crochet and should be left up to the professionals — that’s all you need to know.

Strangely, while there are these codes for crochet, there are none for croquet. So if someone brains you with a croquet mallet, you won’t be able to get treatment because there isn’t a code. In my opinion, if you’re lying there with a croquet head injury, you’d better drag yourself to some water skis and set them on fire.

Neither is there, as far as I can determine, a code for injuring yourself while crocheting on flaming water skis — that would be silly.

Not at all silly, though, is W6132 — “struck by a chicken.” Let’s say you’re walking under a tree full of chickens who got up there by, oh, I don’t know, a ladder or something, and all of a sudden one of them falls and gives you a W6132 right on the head. That can really hurt, especially if the chicken is frozen.

During my search I found 150 codes for things that can go wrong with your lips, including corrosion and ugly stuff growing on them, but not, oddly, kissing the wrong person at the office holiday party. Included in the 150 is “Laceration with foreign body of lip, sequela.”

In medical terms, sequela is “bad outcome,” so apparently without sequela you can lacerate your lips with a foreign body and it will turn out OK — like, perhaps your cut lip prevents you from kissing the wrong person at the office holiday party. Or maybe you kiss her anyway, and she hits you with a chicken. Or perhaps she’s been trained in crochet, in which case she’s going to Y93G1 you right into the hospital. The point is, no matter what’s wrong with your lips or your chickens or your holiday sweater, there’s a medical code for it, so you’ll be OK stat.

Where you got hurt is also part of the code, as in Y9272 — injured in a chicken coop. (Hey, it’s not funny, I was hit by a falling chicken!) Or let’s say you walked into a lamppost — that’s a W2202XA. And if you got up and walked into the lamppost again, that’s a W2202XD.

I’m not sure where this is happening to you, but if you keep walking into the same lamppost over and over, I’m pretty sure your problems started with too much cheer at the holiday party. Or, as your doctor would say, too much F1092 at the party, leading to you kissing the wrong person and getting your lips lacerated with a sharp blow from a chicken.

It doesn’t matter, though — you’ll get treatment stat, because there’s a code for that.

To write Bruce Cameron,
visit his website at
www.wbrucecameron.com



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