Healthcare News & Insights

5 strangest ICD-10 codes

Healthcare providers may struggle to prepare for the transition to new ICD-10 codes, but there is some good news: Coders will now know exactly what to do next time they encounter a patient who was injured as a result water skis being set on fire.

That’s one of the many new codes (V91.07XA, to be exact) that’s included in the new ICD-10 code set, which providers must begin using by October 1, 2013.

The old ICD-9 system contains about 18,000 codes. In contrast, there are about 140,000 ICD-10 codes, which allows them to get highly specific.

For example, here are some of the most interesting ICD-10 additions, as listed in a recent Wall Street Journal article:

  1. While the ICD-9 set includes different codes for a few different types of animal bites, the ICD-10 version is very extensive, including just about every animal you could think of, such as a turkey, duck, macaw, and turtle. ICD-10 also lets coders distinguish between patients who were “bitten by turtle” and those who were “struck by turtle.”
  2. ICD-10 lets coders get very detailed about where patients’ injuries took place — for example, they can specify whether an accident occurred in an opera house, an art gallery or a squash court.
  3. Some new codes may be pretty embarrassing for patients, including “bizarre personal appearance” (R46.1) and “very low level of personal hygiene” (R46.0).
  4. Code W22.02XA is for patients who were hurt walking into a lamppost.
  5. There are 27 codes to describe accidents involving water skis, including incidents in which skis were set on fire. Coders will also have the ability to distinguish between injuries that occurred on water skis and those that occurred as a result of falling off of water skis.

Despite some funny details, experts agree the ICD-10 transition will be no laughing matter — in fact, many healthcare providers may already be behind in preparing for the switch.

To read more about the ICD-10 transition, click here.

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