October first is nearly upon us. For many of us, this date has little significance beyond the promise of cooler weather, lovely autumn colors, and the invasion of neighborhoods with giant inflatable Halloween decorations. While these decorations are fascinating to me, they do cause me to ponder the enormous gulf between my taste and that of my neighbors. I am not certain if this is meant to scare off potential alien invaders or simply to make them think we are not worth bothering with.
October 1, however, is a huge day to the medical community. It is a day that will live in infamy. It is the object of dread, of diaphoresis, of doom. October 1 is ICD-10 day. This view was further bolstered when I went to the CMS (Government Medicare) website, there was actually a doomsday countdown timer at the top of the page. Just looking at this makes me anxious.
For those still unaware, ICD-10 is the 10th iteration of the coding taxonomy used for diagnosis in our lovely health care system. This system replaces ICD-9, which one would expect from a numerological standpoint (although the folks at Microsoft jumped from Windows 8 to Windows 10, so anything is possible). This change should be cause for great celebration, as ICD-9 was miserably inconsistent and idiosyncratic, having no codes describing weakness of the arms, while having several for being in a horse-drawn vehicle that was struck by a streetcar. Really.