F codes for alcohol

KMoose

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Hate these F codes for alcohol as I am often stymied by this from the guidelines (emphasis mine):

The codes are to be used only when the psychoactive substance use is associated with a mental or behavioral disorder, AND SUCH A RELATIONSHIP IS DOCUMENTED BY THE PROVIDER.


Do you know how often the provider documents the connection? Less than 1% of the time from what I've had to code. It is mostly coached in terms of "likely" or "possible" or "consistent with". Today it was 'high likelihood that this is alcohol use related'.

I don't think what I read today meets the requirement of documenting the relationship between the two, especially when it comes to putting an F code into someone's medical record. Which is why the guideline exists in the first place, right? Avoiding people having F codes denoting alcohol in their permanent records which may be seen by too many organizations which might react negatively to the person because of it. <sigh>
 

sujaya101

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Not necessarily. In our practice, we use alcohol abuse/dependence, uncomplicated when provider documents it. If these are associated with further complications like anxiety or sleep disorder, those could be used too. Alcohol dependence in remission is used as well. One doesn't have to have a preexisting mental condition in order to use them. Same applies for other F codes like opiate dependence etc.
 
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