The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] have just released the updated version of the medical coders’ bible, the International Classification of Disease, 10th Revison [ICD-10]. The long-awaited revision is much more detailed than previous versions, going from 18,000 codes in ICD-9 to 140,000 codes in the new release.
In an attempt to achieve greater specificity for describing diseases and injuries, the authors came up with some curious items. There are probably some other howlers, but so far, the winner is “V9027XA Drowning and submersion due to falling or jumping from burning water-skis, initial encounter.” There are also codes for subsequent encounters and sequela of drowning and submersion due to falling or jumping from burning water-skis.
I have been wracking my brain all weekend to come up with a plausible scenario in which a person could drown and be submerged while falling or jumping from burning water-skis.
Can water-skis be set afire? It’s hard to say. According to Trails.com, they are most commonly made of a combination of fiberglass and graphite. I suppose they could be burn under certain conditions but I really don’t see how they could be ignited during normal use because, of course, they would be in the water.
One way that I could envision anyone falling or jumping from burning water skis is if that person were to water-ski through a burning oil slick. And even then, it’s hard to see how the skis would catch fire as the skier would be moving fairly quickly. Furthermore, why would one deliberately water-ski through a burning oil slick? Not only would he have to fall or jump off, he would also have to drown and be submerged.
I have come up with an answer. Someone, possibly an actor from the Jackass series of movies, sets up his water skis on milk crates in the back yard. The skis are positioned over a kiddie pool. He mounts the water skis while an accomplice sprays them with gasoline. The skis are lit, and the man jumps or falls from the burning skis, submerging and drowning himself in the process. Luckily there is an ICD-10 code for that.
While we’re on the subject, how does one have subsequent visits after drowning? Once one drowns, he is dead. I believe charging for subsequent visits would possibly be considered fraud. The only sequela of drowning that I am aware of is a funeral.
I wonder if there are codes for jumping or falling from burning snow skis?