New ICD-10 diagnosis code weirdness

In October 2020 there were 619 new codes added to the list of ICD-10 diagnosis codes. Some of these make sense, such as four codes added for COVID:

  • U07.1 COVID-19
  • Z11.52 Encounter for screening for COVID-19
  • Z20.822 Contact with and (suspected) exposure to COVID-19
  • Z86.16 Personal history of COVID-19

There are also 24 new codes related to fentanyl. I could see that.

But as I’ve written before some ICD-10 codes are bizarrely specific.

There are only so many ICD-10 codes, around 55,000 at the moment, and so all these hyper-specific codes mean there are fewer codes to devote to refining more common diagnoses.

In the new codes, 4 are related to COVID-19 and 170 are related to pedestrian injuries while standing on an electric scooter or other “micro-mobility pedestrian conveyance.” There are 170 shades of “I hurt myself on a scooter.”

Thanks to the new codes, medical practices can now distinguish, for example, between “Pedestrian on standing electric scooter injured in collision with pedal cycle in nontraffic accident” (V01.031) and “Pedestrian on other standing micro-mobility pedestrian conveyance injured in collision with pedal cycle in nontraffic accident” (V01.038).

Of all the codes introduced in 2020, 27% describe variations on a scooter injury.

More diagnosis code posts

One thought on “New ICD-10 diagnosis code weirdness

  1. The granularity of the scooter codes is clearly designed to facilitate subrogation. Insurers and jurisdictions can have all kinds of fun creating distinctive distributions of codes into buckets of whose-fault-was-this. I stay away from scooters altogether, even on display in stores.

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