Missing ICD-10 Codes? Do we have to wait until ICD-11?

The 141,747 ICD-10 codes consists of 71,924 procedure codes and 69,823 diagnosis codes. That’s 123,898 more codes than the ICD-9 code set. ICD-10 is able to add these codes with the addition of the 7th character in the ICD-10 codes. This seventh character is one of the most significant differences in the transition from ICD-9

  ICD-9 Codes ICD-10 Codes
Procedure 3,824 71,924
Diagnosis 14,025 69823
Total 17,849 141,747

With all these new codes, one would think that these codes capture everything under the sun (and all the ways we get burned by it) but CMS is already issuing corrections and adding new codes to to the ICD-10 set. Just last week, CMS approved additional diagnosis codes that were missing from osteopenia and its ICD-10-CM codes in subcategory M85.8-Other specified disorders of bone density and structure.

  • M85.80 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, unspecified site
  • M85.811 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, right shoulder
  • M85.812 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, left shoulder
  • M85.821 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, right upper arm
  • M85.822 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, left upper arm
  • M85.831 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, right forearm
  • M85.832 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, left forearm
  • M85.841 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, right hand
  • M85.842 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, left hand
  • M85.851 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, right thigh
  • M85.852 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, left thigh
  • M85.861 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, right lower leg
  • M85.862 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, left lower leg
  • M85.871 Other specified disorders of bone density and structure, right ankle and foot

A physician wrote to the WSJ wondering why there was no code for his patient who was hit by a drone. With over 250 new ICD-10 codes related to the animal kingdom, including assault by a centipede and struck by a turtle, the doctor is making a valid point on trying to understand why the CMS omitted the more common occurrence of drone injuries.

Scientists are also are trying to push CMS to add ageing as a disease classification for ICD-11. They believe that the ageing classification would help scientists and medical practitioners researching the ageing process, and also will help further shift the focus from treatment to prevention. ICD-10 has already added conditions like obesity (E66.01 Morbid (severe) obesity due to excess calories) and they don’t see why ageing would be much different. We’ll find out if they’re successful when the World Health Organisation (WHO) finalizes ICD-11 in 2018.

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