Health Information Management

Tip: Coding pressure ulcers in ICD-10-CM

APCs Insider, September 26, 2014

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Codes for pressure ulcers in ICD-10-CM include more information than ICD-9-CM codes, but still follow some similar conventions. The codes are located in category L89 in ICD-10-CM.
ICD-10-CM still uses the four stages of pressure ulcers defined by the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP):
  • Stage 1, non-blanchable erythema
  • Stage 2, partial-thickness
  • Stage 3, full-thickness skin loss
  • Stage 4, full-thickness tissue loss
Each code contains characters to report the site and laterality. ICD-10-CM also includes a code category for pressure ulcers that span multiple body parts, L89.4- (contiguous site of back, buttock, and hip).
If the provider does not document the specific stage of a pressure ulcer, coders will have to look in the documentation for language that matches the NPUAP definitions in order to code the ulcer to a particular stage. The documentation can be from a physician or other nonphysician practitioner, such as a wound care nurse.
This tip is adapted from “Coding skin ulcers in ICD-10-CM” in the September issue of Briefings on APCs.

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