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Doctors' billing system stays stuck in the '70s for now

Kaiser Health News, April 11, 2014

For doctors, hospitals and insurance companies, all the complexities of medicine get boiled down into a system of codes. These codes are used to track and pay for every procedure – like an 813.02 for mending a broken forearm, or an 800.09 for treating a concussion. But this coding system is now four decades old, and it doesn't meet the needs of the medical system today. It was scheduled to be upgraded this October, but Congress delayed it last week. JaeLynn Williams, for one, is seriously bummed out. "It's kind of like looking forward to Christmas, and it doesn't come," she says.