We continue to misunderstand ICD-10's 7th character

Carl Natale
by Carl Natale
We continue to misunderstand ICD-10's 7th character

After 13 months of using ICD-10 codes, there still are people who misunderstand what the seventh character in ICD-10 designates.

Too often people cite "subsequent encounters" and "sequela" to describe multiple injuries not continuing care by a physician.

The latest misapplication I found was in Justin Vict's 11 Silly Medical Codes That Will Make You Laugh. I should have known by the headline I was going to be disappointed. But I'm open to learning something new.

I was willing to overlook "sucked into jet engine, subsequent encounter." There's only so many times you can argue that one.

But Vict next tackles cites W16.221S — "falling into a bucket of water, causing drowning and submersion, sequela."

First of all, this most likely describes the death of a small child. Doesn't make me laugh.

Second, sequela does not mean someone drowned more than once in a bucket.

Great. We managed to get poor taste and ignorance in one ICD-10 code.

Here's a round up of recent articles and posts on how to code diagnoses and procedures in ICD-10:

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.