Change Your Brain for ICD-10
Make learning fun and tab up your books for easy code look up.
By Brenda Edwards, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, CEMC
Your brain may be programmed like mine. I see ICD-9-CM codes everywhere I look: license plates, addresses … anything numeric. I talk in code to my coding friends. I have a friend who put ICD-9-CM codes on wrapped Christmas presents instead of nametags. That’s my kind of thing! But as I began learning ICD-10-CM, I had to reprogram my thought process for locating codes in the tabular section. You can, too. Here’s how to do it.
Become Familiar with ICD-10-CM’s Layout
To find a code in ICD-10-CM, begin by looking for the main term in the alphabetic index. Then, verify the accuracy of the code in the tabular index (this may be difficult until you’re familiar with the layout). Your code search is not complete until you’ve checked the ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting for any further guidance.
Tab It Up to Correspond to ICD-9-CM
Because I am a visual learner and a “tabber,” I figured out the best hands-on way for me to convert to this new code set. I couldn’t wait to get that new codebook and start tabbing it up! The answer for me was to tab my ICD-10-CM book as if it were the ICD-9-CM book. I appended a tab with the ICD-9-CM category and word to the appropriate ICD-10-CM tabular section of the book, as follows.
|ICD-9-CM Tab||ICD-10-CM Tabular Section|
|001-139 Infectious||Certain Infectious and Parasitic Diseases|
|280-289 Blood||Diseases of Blood and Blood-forming Organs|
|240-279 Endo||Endocrine, Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases|
|320-389 Nervous||Diseases of Nervous System|
|390-459 Circulatory||Diseases of Circulatory System|
|460-519 Respiratory||Diseases of Respiratory System|
|520-579 GI||Diseases of Digestive System|
|680-709 Skin||Diseases of Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue|
|710-739 Musculo||Diseases of Musculoskeletal System and Connective Tissue|
|580-629 GU||Diseases of Genitourinary System|
|630-679 OB/GYN||Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Puerperium|
|760-779 Newborn||Certain Conditions Originating in the Perinatal Period|
|740-759 Congenital||Congenital Malformations, Deformations and Chromosomal Abnormalities|
|780-799 Signs & Symptoms||Symptoms, Signs and Abnormal Clinical and Laboratory Findings|
|800-999 Injuries||Injury, Poisoning and Other Consequences of External Causes|
Convert Your Tabs to ICD-10-CM
After I became familiar with locating the section in the tabular index with ICD-9-CM codes, I changed my tabs over to ICD-10-CM codes. This time, I made a tab for each section in the tabular list, including the new chapters for Eyes, Ears, External Causes of Morbidity, and Factors Influencing Health Status and Contact with Health Services.
I know what you are thinking, “External Causes of Morbidity and Factors Influencing Health Status and Contact with Health Services are not new in ICD-10-CM.” Technically you are correct; however, the E and V codes found in ICD-9-CM were considered an optional part of the code set. In ICD-10-CM, these chapters are no longer optional; they are a part of the code set.
|ICD-10-CM Tab||ICD-10-CM Tabular Section|
|A00-B99 Infectious||Certain Infectious and Parasitic Diseases|
|D50-D89 Blood||Diseases of Blood and Blood-forming Organs|
|E00-E89 Endo||Endocrine, Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases|
|F01-F99 Mental||Mental and Behavioral Disorders|
|G00-G99 Nervous||Diseases of Nervous System|
|H00-H59 Eye/Adnex||Diseases of Eye and Adnexa|
|H60-H95 Ear||Diseases of Ear and Mastoid Process|
|I00-I99 Circulatory||Diseases of Circulatory System|
|J00-J99 Respiratory||Diseases of Respiratory System|
|K00-K94 GI||Diseases of Digestive System|
|L00-L99 Skin||Diseases of Skin and Subcutaneous Tissue|
|M00-M99 Musculo||Diseases of Musculoskeletal System and Connective Tissue|
|N00-N99 GU||Diseases of Genitourinary System|
|O00-O9a OB/GYN||Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Puerperium|
|P05-P96 Newborn||Certain Conditions Originating in the Perinatal Period|
|Q00-Q99 Congenital||Congenital Malformations, Deformations and Chromosomal Abnormalities|
|R00-R99 Signs & Symptoms||Symptoms, Signs and Abnormal Clinical and Laboratory Findings|
|S00-T88 Injuries||Injury, Poisoning and Other Consequences of External Causes|
|W00-W99||Falls, Exposure, Drowning|
|Y92-Y99 Activity||Place and Activity|
|Z00-Z99 V codes||V Codes|
Customize Your Learning
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to transitioning to ICD-10-CM. Evaluate your learning style and do what makes the most sense to you. I’m excited because the ICD-10-CM code set is alphanumeric … I’ll still be able to read codes in license plates!
Brenda Edwards, CPC, CPMA, CPC-I, CEMC, is coding and compliance specialist at Kansas Medical Mutual Insurance Company (KaMMCO). She has been involved in many aspects of coding and billing since entering the profession more than 25 years ago. Her responsibilities at KaMMCO include chart auditing, coding and compliance education, and contributing articles to the company’s website and publication. Edwards served on the AAPC Chapter Association board of directors from 2010-2014 and held office as chair. Edwards is an ICD-10 trainer, AAPC workshop presenter, and a frequent speaker for local chapters and AAPC regional conferences. She is co-founder of the northeast Kansas local chapter and has served in many officer positions.
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