Have an insatiable love of television? How about an equal amount of love of diagnosis codes and healthcare pricing? Just us? We’re diving deep into some famous TV episodes and the cost of healthcare one might expect for the characters involved. No real persons were harmed in the making of this blog series.
TL;DR: Bacon is Dangerous
Let’s start with one of the most famous injuries in TV history, as told in Season 2, Episode 12 of The Office. Put simply, welcome to “The Injury.”
It’s not every day a man somehow steps on a George Foreman grill. But it could be every day if that man is Michael Scott.
The episode begins with Michael asking his co-workers to pick him up and drive him to work because he burned his foot. He describes how:
“Most nights before I go to bed, I will lay six strips of bacon out on my George Foreman grill. Then I go to sleep. When I wake up, I plug in the grill, and I go back to sleep again. Then, I wake up to the smell of crackling bacon. It’s delicious, it’s good for me, it’s a perfect way to start the day. Today, I stepped down on the grill, and it clamped down on my foot.”
Triaging the Patient
Two diagnosis codes come onto the scene here:
Y93.G2 - Activity, grilling and smoking food
T25.029A - Burn of unspecified degree of unspecified foot, initial encounter
Now, Michael didn’t go to the doctor or hospital for this, because despite his best efforts to make us believe otherwise, Michael was pretty much fine. But we are thinking he took a trip to the Walgreens at 330 S Main Ave in Scranton.
He limped into Walgreens armed with the CPT code for the only treatment he sought:
E0114: Crutches underarm, other than wood, adjustable or fixed, with pads, tips and handgrips ($39.99)
Not too bad. Next, to help with the pain and swelling, Ryan tricks Michael by crushing baby aspirin and hiding it in his pudding as you would do with a dog, so let’s add aspirin to the Walgreens tab, clocking in at $3.79.
$43.78 for self-treatment, not too shabby..
And of course, we can’t forget that before securing his crutches, Michael fell while attempting to hop, resulting in an elbow protuberance. He also fell off the toilet seat in the bathroom after making it into work because the hustle never sleeps. We’ll go ahead and document an additional diagnosis code here:
Z91.81 - history of falling
We’d recommend HCPCS A9273 (Cold or hot fluid bottle, ice cap or collar, heat and/or cold wrap, any type) for his elbow protuberance and possible hip contusion. Michael seems both stubborn and clumsy, so that heat and/or cold wrap is going to be getting some heavy mileage. Separate but related: does a bag of frozen peas have a CPT code?
Now that Michael is stable, we turn our attention to the Assistant (to the) Regional Manager.
It’s Dwights Out For This Guy
Dwight suffers a more severe injury as he crashes his car into a pole when racing to pick Michael up from his foot-turned-bacon mishap. While the crash seems to make Dwight an overall more pleasant person to be around, it becomes clear he has a head injury and needs to go to the hospital.
Order up, two new diagnosis codes:
V89.2XXA - Person injured in unspecified motor-vehicle accident, traffic, initial encounter
S060X0A - Concussion without loss of consciousness, initial encounter
After an emergent admit due to his head injury, Dwight got a CAT scan, which is a bit more costly than Michael’s Walgreens treatment. We’re going to assume the hospital didn’t charge Michael for trying to stick his foot into the machine during Dwight’s scan. We will also assume Michael is no longer a welcome emergency contact for Dwight.
Dwight’s treatment could fall under two CPT codes*:
99284 - ER Level 4
Avg. commercial rate in Scranton area: $482.64
Avg. self-pay rate in Scranton area: $946.50
70450 - CT Scan head/brain w/o dye
Avg. commercial rate in Scranton area: $697.62
Avg. self-pay rate in Scranton area: $1,374.72
Now, we know Dwight has health insurance as he tried to cut his own health benefits in a previous episode. Assuming he’s met his deductible and has a 20% co-insurance, Dwight’s insurance allowed amount with the hospital totals $1,180.26. Dwight walks away from this episode with a bumperless car, a new friend, and a bill for $236.05**.
What’s the lesson here, outside of those perfect grill marks you get from a George Foreman product? Maybe don’t make bedroom bacon like it’s tableside guac.
*For the sake of this blog, we assume Dwight was not admitted as an inpatient hospital stay. Don’t @ us if you’d add other codes, this is just for entertainment purposes.
**The Turquoise Health resident Elle Woods would like to remind the readers that co-pay, co-insurance, and deductible amounts are all specific to a person’s insurance coverage and plan type. Do not make your healthcare decisions based on Dwight. Or Michael. Or The Office.