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Thread: BMI codes

  1. #1

    Default BMI codes

    When coding for a BMI, must you have a diag. to support the BMI for example malnutrition or obesity? My understanding BMI is not a stand alone code.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Palm Beach

    Default Bmi

    Per coding clinic, the provider must provide documentation of a clinical condition to code BMI as a secondary diagnosis. Hope this helps

    Please refer to Coding Clinic 4Q08, Vol # 25, Number 4, Page 191. I have copied it below for your reference.

    Ask the Editor
    We understand that while body mass index (BMI) code assignment may be based on documentation found in a dietitian’s note, the codes for overweight and obesity should be based on the provider’s documentation (the physician or any qualified healthcare practitioner who is legally accountable for establishing the patient’s diagnosis).
    Can the BMI codes (V85.x) be assigned on the basis of the dietitian’s note without a corresponding documented diagnosis of overweight, obesity or morbid obesity from the provider?
    If the BMI has clinical significance for the patient encounter, the specific BMI value may be picked up from the dietitian’s documentation. The provider must provide documentation of a clinical condition, such as obesity, to justify reporting a code for the body mass index . To meet the criteria for a reportable secondary diagnosis, the BMI would need to have some bearing or relevance in turns of patient care. For reporting purpose, the definition for “other diagnoses” is interpreted as additional conditions that affect patient care in terms of requiring:
    Clinical evaluation; or
    Therapeutic treatment; or
    Diagnostic procedures; or
    Extended length of hospital stay; or
    Increased nursing care and/or monitoring
    Once the provider has provided documentation of the clinical condition, such as obesity, the coder can use the dietitian’s note to assign the appropriate BMI codes from category V85.
    Last edited by btmom3972; 08-29-2012 at 08:22 AM.

  3. #3


    Thank you btmom3972 )

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    San Antonio, TX


    for those who do not have access to the coding clinics the CDC publishes the guidelines at This has the 2011 guidelines that are published in the 2012 books.
    2012 Vice-President San Antonio Chapter
    2013 President-elect San Antonio Chapter

    Provider Educator

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