September 21, 2014

Rector’s Reflection

I don’t know if you have ever had the pleasure of dealing with a health insurance provider about a claim that was unpaid. My first encounter came with my father’s by-pass surgery. His procedure was not covered because, according to the EOB (Explanation of Benefits), his procedure “was performed in an extended-care facility and therefore not reimbursable.” Well, it turned out that it was a facility code error and it was eventually covered.

When I had that wretched halo removed from my knee, it was not initially covered, according to the EOB, because “it was an experimental procedure.” It had not been experimental putting it on, so I had just assumed it was standard procedure to take it off. Well, it turned out that it was standard procedure to remove it, but a procedure code error threw a wrench in the works for several weeks.

Codes. In this computer-driven age when words do not speak as loudly as codes, the transposition of a single digit can be the difference between a tranquil life and utter madness. My daughter sent me a link to some of the NEW codes that will take effect in the world of medical billing in 2015. Called to ICD-10 Codes, they evidently give more precision in the reporting of the treatment of injuries.

For example, V97.33XD is the code for ‘Sucked into a jet engine: subsequent encounter.’ The fact this is a follow-up visit suggests some really fine initial treatment!

W55.29XA is the code for ‘Other contact with cow: subsequent encounter.’ Evidently there are other codes for ‘bitten by cow,’ ‘butted by cow,’ and ‘kicked by cow.’ What else is there?

Y93.D: V91.07XD is the code for ‘Burn due to water skis on fire: subsequent encounter.’ This happens frequently enough that a whole code is necessary? Is there a ‘boogie board on fire’ code? Would the injuries be significantly different? Couldn’t one code suffice for flaming water accessories?

W61.12XA is the code for ‘Struck by a macaw: initial encounter.’ A macaw strike would be significantly different from, say, a blue-footed boobie strike?

Frankly, this whole thing got me thinking. We in the church are often told that we need to keep up with the times. We need to be relevant. We need to be in sync with the culture. But I wonder if we want to risk that. What if you received the following letter:

Dear Supplicant,

God has heard the rumblings of his people about keeping up with the times, and has therefore decided to answer this prayer. In the context of confession, no longer will the admission of “things done and left undone” be sufficient for absolution.

In light of your most recent confession, we are sending you this EOA (Explanation of Absolution) with the following remarks:

Avarice: The confession of avarice is no longer sufficient. Pleas for forgiveness of such must specify Covetousness, Rapacity, Greed, Cupidity, or Other, if settlement is to be made.

Theft: The nature of the theft must be included: Money, Material Goods, Heart, Motor Vehicle, Edibles, or Animals. Note: theft of large animals such as cattle and horses must be confessed under Rustling.

Licentiousness: More clarity is required for further review. Wantonness, Sexual Immorality, Dissipation, Dissolution, Profligacy, or Other must be properly coded.

Absolution is denied.

You may appeal this ruling by providing proper supporting information.

Thank you,

Your HMO (Heavenly Mediation Organization), Sin Abatement Division

Note: Blaspheming Against the Holy Spirit is not covered.