Fantasy Codes

January 1, 1997

Fantasy Codes - Poetry of the Times


Inaccurate and incomplete information about the G-Codes has led to a great deal of confusion about how to use them. Fears of denied claims or Medicare audits have made the situation worse.

-An American Psychiatric Association memo responding to FAQs on Medicare G-Codes.

Late at night, imagining years in jail,
I hear Audit Police finger my charts.
Like a prisoner's fantasy of unfenced fields,
I dream the F-Codes. Fantasy Code-1
is Worried Laying Awake Wondering
if a patient will kill herself and what more I can do.
F-2 codes a One-Minute Medication Review While Driving Home,
not sure I've checked the TSH, EKG, the latest PDR.
With F-3 I'd bill Hours Spent Reading Old Texts
to treat a woman who berates me yet yearns
to sit in my lap. My favorites are F-4 thru F-19,
Refunds for Useless Courses and Tests:
Organic Chemistry, Calculus, Physics, the nail-bitten
MCAT review, National Boards, Specialty Boards.
I'd submit for five lectures on Tay-Sachs Disease
(ever seen a case?) and demand the check
in cherry-red ink. I'd bill everyprofessor
who sneered and puffed and put me down,
charge for excision of each bureaucrat,
every layer of administration, care denial, HCFA form,
Medicare oath, Hold-Harmless clause,
every CEO with one green hand in my pocket and another pulling my patients by the short hairs.
I've busted out of jail and I'm wide awake.

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