Health Information Management

Topic: Follow these steps when researching an ICD-9 coding question

HIM-HIPAA Insider, July 9, 2007

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Using the ICD-9-CM Manual may seem daunting at first, especially for a non-coding professional or beginning coder. It is important to understand coding guidelines and to refer to all available resources when assigning a code. When researching an ICD-9 coding question, ensure that coders follow these steps to maintain compliance:

  1. Start with the ICD-9-CM Manual. You can resolve many ICD-9-CM coding questions by carefully studying the ICD-9-CM Manual itself, paying particular attention to typographical conventions and the various notes included throughout the manual.
  2. Review the official guidelines. The Public Health Service and CMS jointly publish the Official ICD-9-CM Guidelines for Coding and Reporting. The following organizations helped develop and approve these guidelines:
    -American Hospital Association (AHA)
  3. Review Coding Clinic. Coding Clinic is a newsletter published by the AHA. Representatives from the four organizations listed above review and approve each issue of Coding Clinic. You can order a subscription or back issues of Coding Clinic from the AHA by calling 800-AHA-2626.

Editor's note: This article was adapted from HCPro's handbook Coding and You: What Every Healthcare Professional Should Know. For more information about this handbook designed to help the beginner coder or other non-coding professional staff, click here.

Haven't ordered your 2008 coding manuals yet? Click here for HCPro's 2008 Coding Manual Package: Hospital Version.

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