For the upcoming year, the FY 2021 ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines have made over 500 significant changes. These updates, set to take effect on October 1, 2020, include 490 new codes, 47 revised codes, and 58 codes deemed invalid. The upcoming changes are some of the biggest yet, as they address hundreds of new policies. See RT Welter’s summary of these changes in the information below!

With over 500 diagnosis coding changes just around the corner, the FY 2021 ICD10CM Official Guidelines bring updates that are set to be significantly larger than the FY2020 update brought to us last year. 

Updates that are set to take effect October 1st, 2020 include: 490 new codes, 47 revised codes and 58 codes deemed invalid (see table below), additional instructions on reporting manifestations of COVID-19, as well as new guidance on social determinants of health, insulin use and acute kidney failure, among several other changes. 

Below is a summary of the anticipated FY2021 ICD10CM Updates by Chapter: 

Chapter 1: Certain Infectious & Parasitic Disease brings a new section 1.g for reporting Coronavirus infections. 

Chapter 3: Diseases of Blood & Blood-forming organs has eighteen new, detailed codes available for sickle cell anemia. These new codes describe complications associated with sickle- cell and hemoglobin-C (Hb-C) diseases. For example, a note for new sickle-cell thalassemia code D57.418 (Sickle-cell thalassemia, unspecified, with crisis with other specified complication) instructs the coder to code any identified complications such as cholelithiasis (K80.-) or priapism (N48.32). 

Chapter 4: Endocrine, Nutritional & Metabolic Disease includes new coding instructions to follow for diabetic patients treated with insulin, oral hypoglycemics and injectable non-insulin drugs. For example, if the patient is taking both insulin and an injectable non-insulin antidiabetic drug, assign both Z79.4 (Long term [current] use of insulin) and Z79.899 (Other long term [current] drug therapy). If the patient is taking oral hypoglycemic drugs and an injectable non-insulin antidiabetic drug, assign code Z79.84 (Long term [current] use of oral hypoglycemic drugs) in addition to code Z79.899. 

Chapter 5: Mental, Behavioral and Neurodevelopmental Disorders contains twenty-one new codes that describe withdrawal from substances including alcohol, cocaine, and opioids. For example, F10.932 (Alcohol use, unspecified with withdrawal with perceptual disturbance). 

Chapter 6: Diseases of the Nervous System has added “pseudotumor” as a clarifying term to G93.2 (Benign intracranial hypertension) and coders are instructed to code G98.81- (intracranial hypotension) with G96.0 (Cerebrospinal fluid leak) when applicable. 

Chapter 9: Diseases of the Circulatory System contains many revisions to the includes and excludes notes for existing codes. For example: Atherosclerosis of native arteries of the legs with ulceration (I70.2-) now includes both critical and chronic ischemia of native arteries with ulceration. Hypertensive Heart Disease (I11) has been revised to exclude Takotsubo Syndrome (I51.81), also known as “broken heart” syndrome. 

A new hypertension guideline provides instruction that when a patient has hypertensive chronic kidney disease and acute renal failure, code both conditions and sequence the codes based on the reason for the encounter. 

Chapter 10: Diseases of the Respiratory System now has code also instructions for cases of acute laryngitis and tracheitis (J04) and acute obstructive laryngitis (croup) and epiglottitis (J05). Coders are instructed to code also influenza if present, including influenza due to identified novel influenza A virus with other respiratory manifestations (J10.1). This chapter also has a new section 10.e specifically for vaping-related disorders. 

Chapter 13: Musculoskeletal System found several updates this year including twelve new codes to capture other pathological fractures (M80.8AX- and M80.0AX-). Updates include an expanded list of codes for rheumatoid arthritis, as well as primary and secondary arthritis, and arthritis caused by trauma. New codes in the M24 category for other articular cartilage disorders, disorders of ligament, pathological dislocation, recurrent dislocation, contracture and ankylosis. 

Chapter 14: Disease of Genitourinary brings two new sub-stages to Stage 3 chronic kidney disease (CKD). The new codes are: N18.30 (Chronic kidney disease, stage 3 unspecified), N18.31 (Chronic kidney disease, stage 3a) and N18.32 (Chronic kidney disease, stage 3b). 

Chapter 15: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Puerperium contain new language that warns coders they should not report O85 for sepsis that follows an obstetrical procedure. A note 

points them to the Sepsis due to a postprocedural infection of Chapter 1 Certain Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (A00-B99), U07.1. 

A new section 15.s provides instruction on reporting COVID-19 infections in pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium. E.g. when a newborn tests positive for COVID-19 and the provider has not documented a specific method of transmission, assign code U07.1 and the appropriate codes for associated manifestations. Code P35.8 (Other congenital viral diseases) followed by U07.1 when the provider documents that the newborn contracted the disease in utero or during birth. 

Chapter 16: Certain Conditions Originating in the Perinatal Period has a new section 16.h for reporting COVID-19 Infections in Newborn. 

Chapter 18: Symptoms, Signs, and Abnormal Clinical and Laboratory Findings, Not Elsewhere Classified contains several changes. Code R51 (Headache) will be split into two codes: R51.0 (Headache with orthostatic component, not elsewhere classified) or R51.9 (Headache, unspecified). 

Another source of new headache coding will come from five new codes for intracranial hypotension – the severe orthostatic headache that is a common symptom of a cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) leak: For example, G96.810 (Intracranial hypotension, unspecified), G97.83 (Intracranial hypotension following lumbar cerebrospinal fluid shunting) and G97.84 (Intracranial hypotension following other procedure). Five new codes for CSF leaks can now be found in place of the current code G96.0 (CSF leak). 

Chapter 19: Injury, poisoning & certain other consequences holds 128 additions that include new codes for adverse effects and poisoning by fentanyl and tramadol as well as other synthetic narcotics. 

Chapter 21: Factors influencing health status and contact with health services include new observation language. The new language creates a second exception to the rule that observation codes are primary. The GL state, “An observation code may be assigned as a secondary diagnosis code when the patient is being observed for a condition that is ruled out and is unrelated to the principal/first-listed diagnosis.” 

NEW Chapter 22: Codes for Special Purposes (U00-U85) includes just two codes: U07.0 Vaping- related disorder and U07.1 COVID-19, these codes took effect in the earlier this year. 

Deletions from the 2021 ICD-10-CM code set include Q51.20 (Other doubling of uterus, unspecified), and the entire code family of T40.4X- (Poisoning by the adverse effect of and underdosing of other synthetic narcotics). 

The general coding guidelines clarify that social determinants of health may be coded if self- reported by patients, “as long as the patient self-reported information is signed off by and incorporated into the health record by either a clinician or provider.” Social determinants of health, found in code categories Z55-Z65, report potential health hazards related to socioeconomic and psychosocial circumstances that may complicate the care of the patient (e.g., the patient is unemployed).

CDC 10 CM Guidelines
PBN Decision Health