My doctor will now need to code for when I get bitten by George or Martha Goose

The bureaucrats always seem to find new ways to waste precious medical resources and capital to justify their existence.

Here's the latest twist:

I regularly feed swans, ducks and geese at my local park. In fact, I don't seek them out; the geese in particular come to me when they see me on the trail. They know me for years.

They have tremendous vision, so I can't escape them.

Per the WSJ, medical coding is about to become so hypergranular (could the reason be that bureaucrats needed work to do?) as to be reasonably considered insane:

Walked Into a Lamppost? Hurt While Crocheting? Help Is on the Way

New Medical-Billing System Provides Precision; Nine Codes for Macaw Mishaps

Wall Street Journal
Sept. 13, 2011

... Billing experts who translate doctors' work into codes are gearing up to start using the new system in two years. They say the new detail is welcome in many cases. But a few aspects are also causing some head scratching.

Some codes could seem downright insulting: R46.1 is "bizarre personal appearance (see code)," while R46.0 is "very low level of personal hygiene (see code)."

It's not clear how many klutzes want to notify their insurers that a doctor visit was a W22.02XA, "walked into lamppost, initial encounter" (or, for that matter, a W22.02XD, "walked into lamppost, subsequent encounter").

Why are there codes for injuries received while sewing, ironing, playing a brass instrument, crocheting, doing handcrafts, or knitting—but not while shopping, wonders Rhonda Buckholtz, who does ICD-10 training for the American Academy of Professional Coders, a credentialing organization.

... Much of the new system is based on a World Health Organization code set in use in many countries for more than a decade. Still, the American version, developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is considerably more fine-grained.

The WHO, for instance, didn't see the need for 72 codes about injuries tied to birds. But American doctors whose patients run afoul of a duck (see codes), macaw (see codes), parrot (see codes), goose (see codes), turkey (see codes) or chicken (see codes) will be able to select from nine codes for each animal, notes George Alex, an official at the Advisory Board Co., a health-care research firm.

There are 312 animal codes in all
, he says, compared to nine in the international version. There are separate codes for "bitten by turtle" and "struck by turtle." (See codes.)


W6151XA Bitten by goose, initial encounter
W6151XD Bitten by goose, subsequent encounter [Killer Goose?]
W6151XS Bitten by goose, sequela
W6152XA Struck by goose, initial encounter
W6152XD Struck by goose, subsequent encounter
W6152XS Struck by goose, sequela
W6159XA Other contact with goose, initial encounter
W6159XD Other contact with goose, subsequent encounter
W6159XS Other contact with goose, sequela

Sometimes my favorite Canada Goose couple, George and Martha, and their annual young'uns will overextend their beaks when being fed and nip my finger. They've never broken my skin (geese have no teeth, just ridges) but if they do ... my doctor is likely to have to code for "bitten by Canada Goose."

I wonder if CDC will then send out the Goose Patrol. George and Martha, be careful, or your goose may be cooked!

George, I'm going to feed you, but don't W6151XD me (bite me) or the Feds will be after you ... (click to enlarge photos)

Young'uns, you better watch out, too!

This guy has already done a W6152XA and W6152XD to me with his wings, leaving me with a W6152XS (bruise on my leg) when I didn't feed him before the Canadas! You can just tell he's looking to create coding mayhem from that expression on his face.

Is there an ICD-10 code for "foot bitten by cute little Mallard duckie?"

What a perverse waste of resources this coding mania represents...

Hat tip: The Galen Institute/Grace-Marie Turner

-- SS