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Health Care in America: You Won't Believe This

01/28/2014 02:40pm ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Have you been injured more than once due to an encounter with a chicken, been bitten by an orca whale a second time or been injured at the opera? Your doctor needs to know!

Here are some of the new codes in the NEW, IMPROVED system that will become a permanent part of your medical record. Don't be surprised if your doctor wants to know if you have been. Stabbed while crocheting, bitten by a sea lion, had an unspecified encounter with a chicken, been injured in the swimming pool of a prison, suffered burns due to water skis on fire, or been injured in the crash landing of a spacecraft. Let me know what you think... Rolling your eyes yet?! If you want more laughs, read on!

In 2014 not only has Obamacare limped awkwardly forward, but the insurance industry is rolling out a new system of diagnostic codes called ICD-10. All health care providers are required to shift over to this new burdensome system because it is said to be so much more precise, allowing doctors to tell insurance companies EXACTLY why you are in their office seeking medical care. Based on the diagnosis, your health insurer will decide whether or not you and the doctor get paid.

Yes, these are real diagnostic codes for use by your doctor found in the new ICD-10 :

Misadventure to patients during surgical and medical care (a medical misadventure?), stabbed while crocheting, burns due to water skis on fire (Evel Knievel lives!), hurt at the opera, been injured in a spacecraft crash landing more than once, injured in swimming pool of prison (prisons have swimming pools?), walked into a lamppost: first time, walked into a lamppost again, submersion due to falling or jumping from crushed water skis, bitten by orca, first time, accidental striking against or bumped into by another person again, injured in an art gallery, injured in bathroom of mobile home, dependence on other enabling machines and devices (addiction to your iPhone or Android), toxic effect of intentional self-harm due to contact with sea anemone (willingly injuring yourself with a sea creature), bitten by a turtle again, bitten by sea lion again, struck by macaw first time (watch out), hit or struck by falling object due to accident to canoe or kayak, melting of pajamas in a fire again, civilian watercraft involved in water transport accident with military watercraft, injury due to jumping from a burning building again, hurt at the library, pecked by chicken again, other contact with chicken, first time, bitten by pig, first time, unspecified event, undetermined intent (that clarifies the issue!), injured in an art gallery (at least there are not two codes one for a contemporary art gallery and one for an Asian art gallery), bizarre personal appearance (this is really a medical diagnosis! says who?), struck by turtle first time, struck by turtle, again, struck by turkey first time, struck by field hockey puck first time, injury due to bicycle tire explosion again, injury due to a homicide attempt with a fertilizer bomb again, injury due to an assault with letter bomb first time. And that's not all!

Instead of taking care of you, doctors will really have to spend their time figuring out the right code to describe why you are in their office so that your insurance claim can be filed properly. Now the typical 6-10 minute office visit is going to be spent looking for the right code instead of listening to and examining you, the patient who needs attentive care.

No wonder the best doctors are leaving medicine and the quality of health care is declining. Doctors who love their relationships with patients are being robbed of the opportunity to spend time WITH patients PRACTICING MEDICINE and rendering real CARE.

Patients and doctors get the short end of the stick. Doctors are becoming like clerks and employees and patients like objects and faceless numbers. High touch, personalized thoughtful meticulous medicine is disappearing. Not only is this a tragedy. It is dangerous and life threatening.

Your doctor does not get paid to spend more time with you. So stand in front of the door until you get all of your questions answered and you get hands on thoughtful thorough care. As a patient you must now become your own advocate if you are to receive excellent medical care.