The ICD-10 Sell Out


I found this from an AP article and I started to smile like the dude in the picture.  The title of the piece is More precise medical codes aim to track quality of care.  Really?  Is that what it is going to do?  My issue is that the layman will read this and think that the ICD-10 codes were created to improve care.  There is no proof of that. Sure, it states “the government says the long-awaited change should help health officials better track quality of care, spot early warning signs of a brewing outbreak or look for illness or injury trends” but who believes the government.  Once again, this is just conjecture and this conjecture is costing a lot of money and time.

Luckily, however, we have the AAFP to protect its members who have been screaming about this ICD-10 conversion:

Might patients see an uptick in insurance denials for coding errors that require the doctor’s office to refile the claims? Dr. Robert Wergin, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, is optimistic that providers are ready enough that patients shouldn’t feel an impact.

“Sitting in the room with a patient, I don’t think you’ll notice anything,” Wergin said.

His 10-doctor practice in rural Milford, Nebraska, has updated the electronic medical records of patients with chronic diseases, so the next time the diabetic with early kidney disease comes in, that new code is one less thing to check.

Most doctors’ offices only use several dozen codes anyway, to match each specialty’s typical diagnoses, Wergin noted. “Really, I probably live in a world of 140 codes.”

Wow, the prez of the AAFP just threw his peeps under the bus.  It’s hilarious.  And this is the dude signing the letters to me to get me to rejoin.  Ha!



Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  10 comments for “The ICD-10 Sell Out

  1. Pat
    September 9, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    I keep coming back to the “fun” aspect of it all. With money getting squeezed by flat payments and rising overhead, ever-present legal threats, and licensure administrative pressures, it seems the only remaining incentive to pursue this career would be for – in the serious sense – the fun. How does this fatuous ass expect to attract any quality to a discipline he purportedly cares about? What pitiful weirdo would WANT to do this crap? I wouldn’t want any factory line geek as my primary care doc who thinks as Provider Wergin does.

  2. mamadoc
    September 9, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    “Better patient care” my left foot. ICD10 is just better data mining for insurance companies and CMS. It doesn’t have diddly to do with quality of care. The injury codes are nothing but a way for insurors to figure out whether payment for an injury can be dumped on another agency/party to pay. Looks like this AAFP president is an even bigger bozo than the last, and I didn’t think THAT was possible.

  3. Kurt
    September 9, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    One more thing: “More precise medical codes aim to track quality of care.”

    I find it hard to keep from swearing at this but there is one thing that the ivory tower boys either are too stupid to realize or are too blind to see.

    You can educate a patient all you want but once they leave the office they can do whatever they want.

    I’m sure none of the MD’s out there are telling people to watch what they eat, stop smoking and
    not drink too much alcohol.

    Just look at the obesity and diabetes epidemics? Must be our fault!!

    Until patients are held accountable for their poor behaviors, nothing is going to change in this country. Makes me regret I didn’t go into anesthesia like I was recommended to 30 years ago.
    I would have been a whole lot happier and richer by now.

  4. RSW
    September 9, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    “Wow, the prez of the AAFP just threw his peeps under the bus.”

    So what else is new?

  5. Kurt
    September 9, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    ICD-10 brought to you by: Idiots Kooks and Derelicts version 10.

    6 years one month and I will be retired.

  6. Bob
    September 9, 2015 at 10:08 am

    After reading this trash I see no reason to change ICD codes. This ship has been sailing satisfactorily but I see dams and waterfalls ahead. On my personal opinion, it’s nuts.

  7. Steve O'
    September 9, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Somehow, this reminds me of an old Coast Guard joke….
    A Canadian Coast Guard hails a group of ships on a westbound course in the Atlantic.

    This is the Canadian Coast Guard. Group at such-and-such location, heading such-and-such, change your course to this-and-that. You are on a collision course with us in 30 minutes.

    An irate reply ensues immediately.

    Canadian Coast Guard, this is United States Navy Carrier Task Force (X). We don’t take orders from the Canadian Coast Guard. Change your own damn heading.

    The same reply ensues:

    This is the Canadian Coast Guard. United States Navy Carrier Task Force, heading such-and-such, change your course to this-and-that. You are on a collision course with us in 30 minutes.

    A pause ensues for a minute or two. The Task Force replies…

    Canadian Coast Guard, this is Admiral Jones, flag officer United States Navy Carrier Task Force. I personally command twenty ships, 50 surface combat aircraft, and enough artillery to blow you into the stratosphere. With whom the f’ck am I speaking?.

    The Coastguardsman replies..

    Petty Officer Robertson, Canadian Coast Guard, sir.

    And from the task force…

    Well, Petty f’cking Officer Robertson, f’ckingCanadian f’cking Coast Guard, what the f’ck are you commanding?

    Lighthouse, sir.

    Sometimes it doesn’t matter how important you think you are, you can’t win with stupid….

    • Perry
      September 9, 2015 at 1:15 pm


  8. Seneca
    September 9, 2015 at 7:36 am

    The old computer aphorism, “Garbage In, Garbage Out” will be writ large on any data gleaned from ICD-10. Almost every practicing MD will take as many shortcuts as possible. I believe that in one of the fields, injuries and illnesses in the right side are coded as 1, where the left side is coded as 2. After a year or two it will be interesting to see if 99% are coded as right sided by busy clinicians.

  9. Perry
    September 9, 2015 at 6:48 am

    I don’t think anyone has any idea what a disaster this is going to be on top of all the other lunacies going on in health care now.

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