Five things to know about the 2022 ICD-10-CM updates

From the COVID-19 vaccine to the delta variant, the October ICD-10-CM update was packed with important changes. Check out five highlights below.
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Staying on top of changes to the ICD-10-CM coding system is very important since any  disruption to the revenue cycle can have major repercussions. And when working with outdated codes, denied or delayed reimbursement is almost certain to occur.

To help prevent these problems, we’ve highlighted five key takeaways from the new ICD-10-CM codes, effective October 1.

1. Doubling up 

In the past, October 1 was the important date to know when it came to updates to the ICD-10-CM. However, April 1 served as a back-up, or emergency, date for updates to the guidelines that couldn’t wait until the fall to become effective.  

In light of the consistent need for updates during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICD-10-CM will now have semi-annual updates. And, whereas April updates used to be reserved only for codes related to new technologies and diagnoses, the ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee has expanded the eligibility criteria for April changes. 

But, this April’s update won’t have the same volume of material that the traditional October changes do. The Committee is taking a phased approach toward a semi-annual update. 

2. Laterality lingo

This year, the ICD-10-CM proposed to remove the CC/MCC designations for over 3,400 “unspecified” diagnosis codes. Also, a new code edit was implemented with the goal of ensuring that laterality is accurately documented within the chart, eliminating ambiguity about which side of the body was affected. 

3. By the numbers

The 2022 release of the ICD-10-CM will contain the largest number of codes to date. This year, there are: 

  • 72,748 codes  
  • 159 additions
  • 32 deletions
  • 20 revisions 

4. Long COVID codes

In light of the ongoing side effects some patients experience after contracting and recovering from COVID-19, this year’s manual includes clinical terminology Post COVID-19 condition, unspecified (U09.9). This code allows providers to associate a patient’s symptoms with COVID-19. 

The code is not to be used in cases that are still presenting with active COVID-19. However, an exception is made in cases of re-infection, occurring with a condition related to prior COVID-19. Specific examples of how to use the new code are: 

  • Loss of smell resulting from prior COVID-19 infection 
  • Loss of taste resulting from prior COVID-19 infection 
  • Chronic respiratory failure resulting from prior COVID-19 infection 

5. Pot problems

Finally, as cannabis becomes increasingly legal in many states, the 2022 updates include codes differentiating between cannabis and synthetic cannabinoid poisonings. 

Code T40.7, Poisoning by, adverse effect of and underdosing of cannabis (derivatives), was expanded to differentiate between cannabis and its derivates and synthetic cannabinoids. The latter being man-made psychoactive substances that act on the same brain cell receptors as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main active ingredient in marijuana.  

While two synthetic cannabinoids (dronabinol and nabilone) have been approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for clinical use, other synthetic cannabinoids are made illicitly and are illegal in the United States. T40.72, Poisoning by, adverse effect of and underdosing of synthetic cannabinoids, is the new code to represent situations resulting from these synthetic substances. 

To learn more about the 2022 updates to the ICD-10-CM, watch our on-demand webinar: ICD-10-CM 2022 updates and regulatory readiness today. 
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