ICD-10-CM injury coding: 'X' may mark the 6th spot

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale
ICD-10-CM injury coding: 'X' may mark the 6th spot

We spend a lot of time with the seventh character because it seems to be one of the most misunderstood aspects of ICD-10-CM coding. What about that sixth character?

Remember, the seventh character is used to describe patient-physician interactions in diagnoses with external causes such as — but not limited to — injuries and poisonings. But Susan Dooley points out that not all ICD-10-CM codes have six characters. That's why "X" is used in the sixth spot so the encounter can be used in the seventh position.

Dooley also notices you can't have a ICD-10 joke without that encounter data in the punchline.

ICD-10 Quiz: ICD-10-PCS Medical and surgical codes for muscles (justcoding.com)

This is a weekly feature that I use to highlight practical tips on how to use and understand ICD-10-CM/PCS codes. Please let me know of any other sources that I can include.