Yes--I wouldn't go as far as to call it "law," but it is a stated guideline, per ICD.
Check out, Section IV, (Diagnostic Coding and Reporting Guidelines for Outpatient Services), part A, (Selection of first-listed Condition), and point 1 under that sub-section. Also, part H, same Section gives the overall application for services "other than" outpatient surgery.
The third paragraph under "ICD-9-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting" also touches on the marriage of ICD rules to a law: HIPAA.
Anyhow, I hope this is what you're looking for and wish you luck in your endeavor.
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