I tend to only use the ICD-9 guidelines when it comes to diagnosis coding.
Section 1, Item 6. Signs and Symptoms - Codes that describe symptoms and signs, as opposed to diagnoses, are acceptable for reporting purposes when a related definitive diagnosis has not be established (confirmed) by the provider.
If you have a diagnosis at the end of the visit, it is all that is needed. If not, use signs and symptoms. They are normally stated in the chief complaint and carried through the documentation. I would be very wary of following advice that differs from the actual guidelines.
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