Health Information Management

Tip: Note ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-CM similarities

APCs Insider, April 27, 2012

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Coders and other HIM professionals generally focus on how ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM differ, notably, the number of codes, their length and appearance, the level of specificity, and increased documentation requirements.

However, not everything is changing. For example, the ICD-10-CM index will be structured similarly to ICD-9-CM index. ICD-10-CM indexes will include the Alphabetic Index of Diseases and Injuries, Alphabetic Index of External Causes, Table of Neoplasms, and Table of Drugs and Chemicals. The Alphabetic Index will consist of two parts:

  • Index to Diseases and Injuries
  • Index to External Causes

The ICD-10-CM Tabular Index will retain the same hierarchical structure as ICD-9-CM. The chapters are structured similarly to ICD-9-CM with minor exceptions. For example, the sense organs (i.e., eye and ear) will appear in their own specific chapters rather than the nervous system chapter.

Numerous conventions (e.g., abbreviations, punctuation, symbols) will retain their meanings. Even though ICD-10-CM generally provides more detail, nonspecific codes (i.e., unspecified or not otherwise specified) are available for use when providers don't include suficient detail in the documentation to support more specific code assignment.

The tip is adapted from “ICD-10-CM coding: Start with the structure” in the April Briefings on APCs.

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