Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

WASHINGTON, April 10 -

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Mr. Speaker, letís say that I take one of my 10 grandkids, Barrett Houston, to a basketball game he is playing in. He gets hit in the face with a basketball, so we go to the doctor to see if his nose is broken. The doctor asks Barrett Houston this question: Is this the first time youíve been hit in the face with a basketball, the second time, or do you have a habit of being hit in the face by a basketball? Barrett says, I donít know. Doctor says, Iíve got to know because, you see, Iíve got this codebook here, and the law require that I make sure I put in the codebook the way you were hurt by the basketball and how many times because there are five codes for being hit in the face by a basketball. And letís say he doesnít know. Well, the doctor has to be accurate in how he diagnoses being hit in the face by the basketball or the doctor will get in trouble.

Letís say I take another one of my grandsons, Jackson, to go hunting, but he happens to get assaulted by a wild turkey. We go to the doctor, and the doctor says, ìHey, Iíve got to know exactly how you were hurt by that turkey because there is a code for being assaulted by a turkey for the first time. There is a code for being assaulted by the turkey a second time. There is a different code for being pecked by a turkey rather than being bitten by a turkey. There are nine codes. The doctor must get the right code or he is in violation of the law about being assaulted by that turkey. It seems nine codes for a turkey assault is a bit silly.

Right now, Mr. Speaker, there are 18,000 of these codes. Doctors must be accurate when they fill out the diagnosis of a patient who comes and sees them.

Stay with me, Mr. Speaker.

Soon, there will be 140,000 of these medical codes that doctors must get right or theyíre in trouble by the Federal Government. The new code system is called ICD-10. For example, youíre injured at a chicken coop; thatís code number Y9272. You are injured at an art gallery, you fall down; thatís Y92250. There are even three new codes for being injured when you walk into a lamppost. You walk into a lamppost for the first time, thatís one code; you walk into a lamppost for the second time, thatís a different code; you walk into a lamppost habitually, that is even a different code. And the doctor must get it right, because heís in violation of the Federal regulators if he doesnít get it right.

The Houston doctors Iíve talked to say this is an expensive distraction from treating patients. Well, no kidding. Itís red tape, itís bureaucracy, and this is what happens when clueless Big Government here in Washington starts telling people out in the workplace ñ doctors and patients ñ what they must do. And when the government intrudes into our lives with more regulations, the government continues to make things more complicated. It finds problems in every solution.

Doctors are really in the business of helping the sick and the injured and saving lives. Do they really have the time and money to t