The “doc fix” bill sent to President Obama for his signature Tuesday contained an important provision to delay a costly new medical mandate from going into effect, Heritage Foundation expert Robert Moffit argues in a new report.
A federal rule would require many doctors to switch to a new method for classifying medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures by October 1. The new classification, known as ICD-10, would replace the existing 18,000 codes with 155,000 entries—creating headaches and costs for doctors.
Moffit explains the oddly specific nature of the new codes, which he urges Congress to delay or even scrap:
A number of [codes] have been highlighted in popular journalistic accounts, including codes for injuries sustained in a collision with a bicycle, while knitting and crocheting or gardening and landscaping, or in a collision with a balloon. Codes are also assigned to cases where a patient has been bitten by a parrot, injured in a spacecraft collision, or sucked into a jet engine.
There are even separate codes for injuries at museums, art galleries, music halls, theaters, and opera houses.
Doctors already spend 22 percent of their time on non-clinical paperwork. The switch to ICD-10 can only make matters worse.
Do you think the federal government should require doctors to use the new system?