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Thread: ICD-9. Current Cancer vs History of Cancer

  1. #1

    Default ICD-9. Current Cancer vs History of Cancer

    AAPC: Back to School
    I work at a cancer care center and we are interested in the timeline other groups follow when coding personal history of cancer rather than currrent cancer. For example, the ICD-9 guidelines instruct us to assign the personal history of cancer code when the patient has completed treatment and is NED. Do you wait a specific length of time after the treatment is completed before assigning the history code -e.g. six months, 1 year, 18 months? There is no clear guidance on this issue that I know of. Any insight you could offer would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    I struggled with this for a long time.
    My facility does external audits 4 times a year and I got dinged with this pretty bad two audits ago.
    Basically if the doctor states "history of" and they're not taking anthing such as tamoxifen or femera I code it using the V code that describes what sort of treatment they had recieved using my current dos notes and then the history of code.

    Coding Clinic, July - August 1985 Page: 16
    Coding Clinic, Fourth Quarter 1997, Page 50

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    If they are still being treated for cancer then you use one of the cancer codes. When the patient no longer has cancer and the Dr says "history of", you begin to use the V codes. You are correct about there not being a specific timeframe for this.

    Basically what I am saying is that the physician needs to be better at documenting whether it is history of cancer or if it is current cancer. That way, the coders will chose the correct code.

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