March 09, 2010 | | Comments 6
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E codes get a makeover in ICD-10

While teaching the inpatient and outpatient boot camps, I often receive questions regarding ICD-10. One of them that sticks out in my mind is, “What about E codes? Are they still going to look the same?” So I decided to do some research.

How will we refer to the “external cause” or E codes (as we commonly refer to them) to report the “how” and “where” when we switch to ICD-10?

In ICD-10, external cause codes are renamed “External causes of morbidity,” and you can find them in chapter 20 of the tabular list. Instead of starting with an “E,” these external cause codes now start at V01 and run through Y99. Therefore, we may want to refer to them as V, W, X, Y, Z codes now. LOL (laugh out loud).

They are external causes for injuries, poisonings, and adverse effects so I guess we could refer to them as “E” codes still, however that may cause confusion as the “E” now represents chapter 4: Endocrine, nutritional and Metabolic disorders (E00-E90).

So, we will have to come up with another way to reference the series of codes that we now know as E-codes and may have to refer to them simply as external cause codes. Do you have an interesting and creative suggestion as to what we might nickname them in the future?

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Filed Under: Coding


Jennifer Avery About the Author: Jennifer Avery, CCS, CPC, CPC-H, CPC-I, has extensive experience with coding for both physician and hospital services. Prior to joining HCPro, Inc., she worked for Health Partners Investments, LLC. a medical practice management company, as a Lead Coder where her duties included coder training, auditing and coding for all new specialty physicians and served as back-up coder for all other coders during vacations and back-log. Avery was also a Coding Consultant for Coding by the Numbers where her duties included coding for in-patient services on an as needed basis. Avery holds both Associates in Health Claims Management and Medical Assisting from Davenport University, Granger, Indiana. Avery currently serves as President of her local chapter of the American Academy of Professional Coders in Oklahoma City.

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  1. For nicknaming the ICD-10 external cause of morbidity codes, how about morbidity codes or ecm codes?

  2. How about end of the alphabet codes?

  3. EE or E1 or Ee (sample codes). I would prefer

  4. Will E diagnosis codes still be reported on the professional 1500 claim form?

  5. Specifically re: OSHPD reporting in California;
    Guideline 1.C.20.a.2 requires that the external cause code (mechanism of injury E-code in ICD-9) be assigned for each encounter for which the injury/condition is being treated. Could this result in over-reporting of injuries after 10/1/13?

  6. Jennifer Avery

    Melissa, as far as I know they will still be reported. I haven’t heard otherwise.

    Steve, I don’t think that it will cause an over-reporting because of the 7th character extension. In fact, it will actually make statistics even better because of the fact that it will let us know if the initial care, subsequent care with any type of complications in healing, or sequela (late effect).

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