The Digestive System And Achalasia Essay

1129 words - 5 pages

Achalasia has the potential to cost the healthcare system a lot of money. There is no cure for Achalasia, therefore this is something that needs to be treated, sometimes as often as every 3 months (Dugdale, George & Zieve, 2010). When my mother has the surgery to stretch her esophageal sphincter, the average cost of her surgery ranges from $1,900 to $3,000, depending on anesthetics and whether or not they need to suck out food that is stuck in the esophagus. Insurance pays the majority of the cost (Brown, 2013). Achalasia effects 1 out of every 100,000 people (Vaezi & Richter, 1999). It may not have a huge impact on the healthcare system, but usually people get achalasia is in their thirties and the average life expectancy is almost 79 years (CDC/National Center for Health Statistics, 2013). For 1 person, this is an average of 49 years of treatment and or surgeries, not to mention the other problems that accompany this disease, such as acid reflux.
This projects has helped me to learn about the digestive system and some of the different diseases that affect it. This information will help me as a medical billing and coding professional by allowing me to distinguish between the different body parts. For example, if I know someone has Achalasia and I am doing the billing, but I see that they are being billed for a procedure that has nothing to do with the digestive system, obviously a mistake has been made. Because I was able to catch the mistake before they were billed, I will have saved months of working to straighten the bill out with the patient and insurance companies. Understanding body systems and diseases will enable me to be a more efficient coder. I will be able to catch mistakes and know where to look for information. It is like searching for information for a research project, the more specific I can be about my topic the more relevant the information I receive will be.
After talking with a person that is living with this disease, it makes you see exactly what they go through. When my mother first started having trouble swallowing, we went for ice cream and after getting the ice cream she started to choke. The only thing that she could do was make herself vomit, to remove what was stuck. She said, “It was one of the scariest experiences of my life, it was stuck in my throat and I did not know what to do… I was panicking”. For years, she was in and out of doctor’s appointments with no solution. She kept getting hospitalized with aspiration pneumonia. It was not until she went to a doctor and he inquired about her extreme weight loss (from 270 pound to 120 pounds), that she was sent to a specialist and finally diagnosed with achalasia (Brown, 2013). For her, it was a twenty year process, this is an extremely rare disease that doctors are not used to seeing (Dugdale, George & Zieve, 2010). Although this is only one story, it gives a glimpse into what living with this disease is like. Patients go undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed, for years...

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