Shark Week and ICD-10 Coding Collide

sharkEvery year, the Discovery Channel has a week of programming dedicated to sharks and shark documentaries. So, I will provide a fun and interesting article combining the two for Shark Week.

As background, ICD stands for International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. ICD-10 was developed by the National Center for Health Statistics as a clinical modification approved in 1990 by the World Heath Organization. ICD-10-codes are complete revisions of their U.S. developed ICD-9 counterparts that were adopted in 1979. On October 1, 2015, the U.S. health care system transitioned the way patient visits are coded from ICD-9 to the next version ICD-10.

In the conversion to ICD-10, there are now more than 90 codes under the “contact with nonvenomous marine animal” category. Under this category, there are codes for shark bite, strike, contact, or “other contact.” Shark bites then are just a microcosm of the change from 13,000 ICD-9 codes to 68,000 ICD-10 codes, which is a more than fivefold increase.

The following codes are utilized not only for those who swim in the sea, but also for those who work on land in aquariums and zoos. Here are a few seminal shark ICD Codes in honor of Shark Week:

1. W56.41 Bitten by a shark;
2. W56.42 Struck by a shark;
3. W56.49 Other contact with a shark;
4. V93.35 Fell out of kayak while looking for sharks; and
5. Y93.C2 Injured while using a hand held interactive electronic device, i.e. texting friend about shark week.

It is important to remember that every injury has an ICD-10 code. ICD codes are used by healthcare entities and responsible reporting entities in Section 111 reporting. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns regarding ICD coding, even if it isn’t related to Shark Week.

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