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    ICD-10: Not quite the end of days

    The views expressed here belong to the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Optometry Times or UBM Medica.

    December 31, 1999, was supposed to be TEOD (the end of days), so my wife and I decided to buck up and face it head on. Near midnight, we sat together on the front stoop of our home and held hands as the rabble formed and started to converge. They were no doubt intent on stealing our stores of canned goods and toilet paper, not to mention the cash we’d withdrawn from the bank and stuffed under our mattress lest our life's savings dissipate into the Y2K ether. Their distant chants grew to a din, and the glow of their lanterns juked and jerked against the side of our brick rancher like a swarm of large, drunken fireflies.

    I rubbed my eyes and looked again. The rabble slowly resolved into a rowdy gang of neighborhood children—our three sons among them—enjoying a rare suspension of bedtime protocol. They held their out-of-season, multicolored sparklers aloft like Liberty torches and ran harum-scarum through the streets as if tomorrow would never come.

    But as the second hand of my wristwatch swept past 12, come it did.

    More from Dr. Brown: Why you can't separate refraction from pathology

    The end (of ICD-9) is nigh

    I couldn’t help but think about that turn-of-the-21st century vignette during the recent run-up to the October 1st implementation of ICD-10. I hereby boldly predict that by the time this column is published, the large majority of us will still be alive and in business. It won’t exactly be “business as usual,” but that particular modus operandi, an all-American favorite, simply will not sustain our healthcare system for the long haul.

    Sometimes we optometrists are so busy in our practices doing what we do well that we lose sight of our connection to the larger picture. We may not realize that some of the tasks that we are asked—OK, forced—to do may serve what some once called “the common good.”

    Next: What's in it for you

    Michael Brown, OD, MHS-CL, FAAO
    Dr. Brown has practiced medical optometry in a comanagement center and with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in ...


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