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October 1, 2015 marks the transition to ICD-10, a diagnostic system with a level of detail so specific that no one cares.  ICD-10’s greatest strength is that it is exactly ten times more useless than ICD-9.  According to preliminary projections by our crack staff at GomerBlog, ICD-10 will be the new leading cause of burnout among health care practitioners by October 2, 2015.  But GomerBlog is here to try to prevent that burnout.  How?  With a series of ICD-10 lessons.

macaw icd-10Today, our first lesson on ICD-10 is about something that is near and dear to us all: the appropriate documentation of macaw encounters.

“One of the greatest flaws of ICD-9 is the lack of codes on macaws,” said Chicago primary care physician Ellen Jones on behalf of physicians nationwide.  “Throughout our training, we hear the phrase, ‘Common things are common.’  But ICD-9 failed us there.  What’s more common than hypertension, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and osteoarthritis combined?  You guessed it: macaws.  Macaws pose a very real and serious threat to the health of American citizens.”

“I can’t begin to tell you how many patients I’ve had afflicted with a form of macaw-induced disease,” explained New York hospitalist Michael Ross.  “At my hospital, it’s gotten so bad that we even have a rapid response Code Macaw team.”

ICD-10 begins to rectify the issue as pointed out by Jones and Ross with nine new macaw encounters, easily remembered by the first three letters & numbers, W61:

W61.11XA – Bitten by macaw, initial encounter
W61.11XD – Bitten by macaw, subsequent encounter
W61.11XS – Bitten by macaw, sequela
W61.12XA – Struck by macaw, initial encounter
W61.12XD – Struck by macaw, subsequent encounter
W61.12XS – Struck by macaw, sequela
W61.19XA – Other contact with macaw, initial encounter
W61.19XD – Other contact with macaw, subsequent encounter
W61.19XS – Other contact with macaw, sequelae

Though an obvious improvement, you must be thinking the same thing: nine macaw codes is not enough.  Given the focus of laterality in ICD-10, it is surprising there are no codes specifying whether a macaw is right or left-hand dominant.  What if you know the name of the macaw or were poisoned by a macaw?  And what about the most common scenario of them all: being taunted by an intoxicated macaw?  Clearly ICD-10 is very limiting, but it’s a start.  Hopefully ICD-11 builds upon the progress of ICD-10 and provides 68,000 codes on macaws alone.

Other ICD-10 lessons:
Lesson 2: Roller-Skate Documentation
Lesson 3: Star Wars Codes
Lesson 4: Babystroller Documentation
Lesson 5: WTF Codes
Lesson 6: OMG Codes
Lesson 7: The Fortune Cookie “In Bed” Modifier
Quiz 1: Can You Spot the Y92 Code That Isn’t Real?

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Dr. 99
First there was Dr. 01, the first robot physician, created to withstand toxic levels of burnout in an increasingly mechanistic and impossibly demanding healthcare field. Dr. 99 builds upon the advances of its ninety-eight predecessors by phasing out all human emotion, innovation, and creativity completely, and focusing solely on pre-programmed protocols and volume-based productivity. In its spare time, Dr. 99 enjoys writing for Gomerblog and listening to Taylor Swift.