What do atrial fibrillation, ATVs and dirt bikes have in common? Federal agency lumps them together under coding for diseases and injuries

2016-09-21 | , American Motorcyclist Association

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosted an “ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee” meeting Sept. 13 to discuss terms of diagnosis for diseases and injuries.

Topics discussed included acute appendicitis, atrial fibrillation...

...and all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes.

You read it right. The topic of ATVs and dirt bikes was discussed along with medical health issues.

Why discuss ATVs and dirt bikes at a CDC meeting?

One of the doctors on the ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee wants more detailed information about ATV and dirt bike injuries and he asked for special codes to identify those injuries in medical reports.

The proposal is one of several that are part of the conversion to the new International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision (ICD-10). It is a medical coding system that provides a quantitative analysis of injuries and fatalities.

According to the CDC, the “ICD-10 does not include external cause codes that solely identify ATV or motor-cross/dirt bike vehicle-related injuries.”

With the safety of motorcyclists the utmost priority of the AMA, we believe the more detailed analysis of injuries could be useful to riders, lawmakers, rules makers and the public. Therefore, the AMA supports the need for more data.

However, the proposal states: “This [lack of detailed codes] currently makes the ongoing surveillance of these injuries and evaluating laws, polices, and other prevention efforts related to reducing the burden difficult to assess.” (Emphasis added).

With the goal to evaluate laws and policies, the AMA is concerned that faulty data–due to conversion issues from the ICD-9 format–may provide the basis for lawmakers and regulators at all levels of government to place undue restrictions on motorized off-highway activities.

To help ensure the data are accurate before dissemination, an oversight committee should be formed and an appeals process put in place.

We all have heard the slogan, “Garbage in; Garbage out.” The AMA hopes this will not be the case in this latest CDC initiative but we have good reason to be concerned – and we stand ready to act.