Doctor Curmudgeon® : “I Flunked the ICD-10 Test”

Doctor Curmudgeon® : “I Flunked the ICD-10 Test”

By Doctor Curmudgeon®


How could this be?

I took this stupid test that I had to take for ICD-10…and I flunked!

Doctor Curmudgeon® does not flunk exams.

Maybe she doesn’t always get an “A.”

But she always passes. Always.

Well, you didn’t pass, was the little note on the stupid thing sent to my email.

I wrote back “Why didn’t I pass?

“You didn’t specify location.”

“I said right elbow.”

“But you didn’t specify more exactly,” fired back the ICD-10 guru.

“How much more exactly (SERMOANS, excuse the poor grammar, but I don’t care) the elbow in the middle of her forehead or the one poking out of her left hip?”

“Doctor, please, your sarcasm is not acceptable here, we are trying to help you.”

Right, I thought.  ICD-10 is helpful.

To whom, I wonder.

Not to doctors.

Not to patients.

What a waste of time.  One and one-half hours watching a ridiculous webinar.

Now, an exam that I have to pass. Why waste my time with M codes and R codes and other indigestible stuff?

Another email,“And you didn’t specify the location.”

“You already said that,” I responded

“We meant the location in which the injury occurred. This is necessary for you to be paid.”

I fired back, “She fell off a swing.”

Yet another email, “That is very good, Doctor Curmudgeon.  Please remember that we, your billing people, did not create ICD-10.  But it is here, and we are trying to educate you with webinars and tests …”

I thought I was finished, but there was the ping of another dreaded email

More comments on that one diagnosis.

“What was the maximum height the swing attained?

“Was this her first encounter with that specific swing?

“Had the swing been painted?

“If so, what color?

“What kind of shoes was she wearing?”

“In a dress, jeans or slacks?”

Reaching into my desk, I grabbed the rest of my chocolate, smashed it up and covered the screen.

“ICD-10 Leave me alone!” I shouted.

Sitting back, I thought: “That’s it!  I’m not doing this…”

“ICD-11 XP will soon be here.  I’ll wait for that.”

Doctor Curmudgeon® is a physician-satirist and often hides behind Diane Batshaw Eisman, M.D. FAAFP, a writer/physician.  This column originally appeared on SERMO, the leading global social network for doctors – the virtual doctors’ lounge and the home of medical crowdsourcing.


Check Out:eisman book

Bitter Medicine: A Doctor’s Year in Viet Nam
by Eugene H. Eisman

These are true stories gleaned from the author’s experience as a physician in Vietnam. It is a mixture of humor and pathos.

Dr. Eugene H. Eisman, earned his MD at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. He served two years in the army. Six months was served in Pleiku, and six months in Cam Rahn. He now lives in Miami Florida.


  1. Utter waste of time!! Patient care is not the focus . I quit FT work and now work limited hours to preserve my health and sanity- thanks to the Washington beaurocrats!!

    • I understand, Susheela. It is frustrating and demoralizing

  2. Diane

    Go DPC and don’t worry about which elbow was injured at what height swing to get paid.
    With DPC you can just be a great doc!


    • Doctor SH,
      please post more information about DPC here.
      Thank you

  3. I’m glad I’m retired!!!

  4. Being Deaf, I have to face my patients so that I can lip read them. Fortunately I can touch type and don’t have to look at the keyboard. Still, I agree with the others here. EMR has its advantages, but serious disadvantages. Insurance companies should pay physicians to hire typists to handle EMRs.

  5. I just think it is awful how much physicians need to do data entry rather than spend time with patients, which is what they are trained to do. I wish there could be a better system or at least a system that makes it easier for physicians to be both hands on physician and office manager.

    • Beth, most of us just care about being with our patients, listening to them, doing our best to help them.
      but this ICD10 is unbelievable. I spent 7 minutes just looking up one diagnostic code…just one…aarrrggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  6. This system forces physicians to turn their backs to patients so they can enter meaningless data that steals time from patients. Those idiots in Washington should be hung from their b….s

    • I completely agree with your comments, Eugene.

      And I have had patients tell me that they are happy that I face them and talk to them, rather than keeping my nose in my laptop

  7. The coding system forces physicians to spend time entering data. It steals valuable time from patient care. You have to wonder how we have all these idiots in Washington that mandated this stuff.


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