ICD-10 Controversy in Wall Street Journal

In case you missed it, I wrote an entertaining (at least I thought it was) post about some of the amazingly specific ICD-10 codes that are out there. I’m headed to AHIMA which starts on Sunday and I’ve had a preview of a vendor, @coniferhealth, capitalizing on some of these codes with some stickers they’re handing out. I’ll embed a picture of one of these stickers at the bottom of this post.

Turns out that not everyone is happy with this light hearted approach to discussing what amounts to a major major shift from ICD-9 to ICD-10. The Wall Street Journal posted some of the responses they got to their original article. Here’s one sample response:

Having a different code for every single artery or the specific bone that’s fractured helps improve continuity of care. A patient who is hemorrhaging can get lifesaving care more quickly when the physician can immediately identify precisely where the broken suture is located. In addition, including the specification that the patient was “bitten by turtle” justifies the patient receiving additional tests or treatments, as turtles carry different bacteria than, say, parrots or turkeys. This and other tidbits of information will support more efficient and effective reimbursement processes.

The benefits we will derive from our global health-care community are tremendous. Once the U.S. finally transitions to ICD-10, we will again be able to share important data with every other civilized country

Although, not everyone is so serious. Arthur Broaderick, M.D. offered the following question, “Doctors closing their practices in droves; is there a code for that?”

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • ICD-10 will be used to deny payment for emergency care. The emergency department, by definition, is a place where we focus all of our attention on ruling out immediately life-threatening disease. We actively avoid diagnosing undifferentiated patients, preferring no diagnosis to a wrong one. With ICD-10, these patients–who frequently require enormous resources and attention–will not fit nicely into these specific codes, and our reimbursement will continue to erode.

  • Brian,
    You always bring out the best in everything you see, don’t you? lol

    Of course, your observation is very interesting and definitely cause for concern. I’m not sure ICD-10 will erode reimbursement more the other factors that are killing reimbursement.

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