Unlocking Medical Mysteries

September 16th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I don’t think seeing a doctor should involve emotional discomfort.  I know it absolutely does, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to fight that.

Yes, I think that’s at least a quadruple negative right there.

Yesterday I saw my family practice doctor and we were talking about a few things and I realized how uncomfortable I was.

Uncomfortable, as I sat fully clothed on a crackly piece of paper on a table I had to climb up onto and she sat two feet below me and typed on her computer.

So I interrupted myself and asked if she minded that I sit in the chair instead.

Her response was the best: Yes of course; this is a conversation.

See; she gets it.  She understands that when it comes to my health, I am the expert and she is a consultant.  Not to undermine her education or experience or knowledge in any way at all… but not to undermine my education, experience or knowledge either.  We were having a conversation.

It was a good thing, and I’m glad I was able to say and do what I said and did. 

I’m on a writing roll here today aren’t I.

(Green underline there since I didn’t put a question mark!)

Anyway, while she was out of the room I made my obligatory tour of the surfaces of the room.  (What can I say.)  I found a sheet of paper that had some information that I don’t know if you will recognize.

On the off chance you don’t, I’m listing them here.  The medical world isn’t meant to be so confusing; it is just big (huge) and they use codes and you can end up feeling lost before you even are allowed through the door.

I think we all deserve better than that.

So here are diagnosis codes your doctor uses when they see you.  They need to use at least one diagnosis code (called an ICD-9 code) for any medical procedure code (called a CPT code) they use to (hopefully) get paid by your insurance company. There are big books of codes that change every year, so doctors usually have one sheet of paper that includes their most typical codes to make things faster as they zoom from room to room and patient to patient.

For diabetes:

250.0… type 2 diabetes, non-insulin dependent, not stated as uncontrolled

250.1… type 1 diabetes, insulin-dependent, not stated as uncontrolled

250.2… type 2 diabetes, non-insulin dependent, uncontrolled

250.3… type 1 diabetes, insulin-dependent, uncontrolled

And then there are more!  Each specific complication has its own code, or way of coding.

250.5x(0-3 above) and 362.01 is diabetes with retinopathy

250.6x and 337.1 is diabetes and neuropathy

250.7x and 440.20 is diabetes and peripheral vascular disease

250.4x and 583.81 is diabetes and nephropathy

250.8x and 405.99 is diabetes and hypertension

250.8x and 272.4 is hyperlipidemia

Some codes have 5 digits and some have 4.  Usually the 4 digit codes are for the general diagnosis with the fifth digit getting more and more specific.

It’s pretty interesting from a coding point of view (which may be about the most boring thing ever if you don’t care about it) but I think anyone with a chronic disease like diabetes really should know the basics of this stuff.

It’s a way to take charge.  As my Dr. Joe would say, it’s your time!!

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1 comment

  1. Peggy says:

    I have to say, I don’t not know why this stuff is confusing.

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