Since writing about coding of the Ebola virus disease in ICD-9 and ICD-10 for last month’s Coding Challenge, an interesting conundrum has come to light that I want to share with you.
It turns out there are two different codes that can be assigned to Ebola virus disease in ICD-9 depending on the way Ebola is located in the ICD-9 Alphabetic Index.
First, index Infection→virus→Ebola to locate code 065.8, Other specified arthropod—borne hemorrhagic fever.
Second, index Infection→Ebola to find code 078.89, Other specified diseases due to viruses.
Upon a request for clarification from AHIMA, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed that the correct ICD-9-CM code is 078.89. This helps to clear up confusion about which ICD-9-CM code should be assigned today.
Just like code 065.8 lacks the specificity to clearly identify Ebola as discussed in my last blog, so does code 078.89! In ICD-10, however, code A98.4, Ebola virus disease, will allow for unequivocal identification of this deadly disease.
Sue Belley is a Project Manager with the Consulting Services business of 3M Health Information Systems.