The other day I gave an interview to a reporter in New York on the subject of cash-only doctors. One of the topics that came up was what might drive any growth in the number of doctors choosing to abandon the insurance system and instead embrace cash-only or at least cash-friendly practices.
One of the things I mentioned to her (at least, I’m pretty sure I remembered to mention it to her – I was on some cold medicine at the time so it’s entirely possible I just read her my telephone bill) was that the burden and costs of participating in what I call bureaucratic medicine were rising, and many doctors were simply getting fed up and were looking for alternatives.
What do I mean by bureaucratic medicine, and what are those burdens and costs? I read an article in The Weekly Standard by Stephen Hayes around the same time as my conversation with the reporter that I think illustrates perfectly what bureaucratic medicine is, and why I expect more doctors in the future to decide to abandon it in favor of cash-only or cash-friendly practices.
The article explains the upcoming revision to the coding system that doctors’ offices and medical facilities across the country use to get reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance companies. It’s a lengthy article, and I’ve cut it down substantially to give you an overview of just how convoluted things are about to become in bureaucratic medicine.
Ever considered suicide by jellyfish? Have you ended up in the hospital after being injured during the forced landing of your spacecraft? Or been hurt when you were sucked into the engine of an airplane or when your horse-drawn carriage collided with a trolley?
Chances are slim.
But should any of these unfortunate injuries befall you after October 1, 2014, your doctor, courtesy of the federal government, will have a code to record it. On that date, the United States is scheduled to implement a new system for recording injuries, medical diagnoses, and inpatient procedures called ICD-10—the 10th version of the International Classification of Diseases… So these exotic injuries, codeless for so many years, will henceforth be known, respectively, as T63622A (Toxic effect of contact with other jellyfish, intentional self-harm, initial encounter), V9542XA (Forced landing of spacecraft injuring occupant, initial encounter), V9733XA (Sucked into jet engine, initial encounter), and V80731A (Occupant of animal-drawn vehicle injured in collision with streetcar, initial encounter). Continue reading