Symptoms and Conditions Coding

ICD-9 has always had codes describing symptoms, conditions or manifestations of a condition using the word “with”. ICD-10 has more options.

Combination codes are used to describe symptoms and conditions. An uncomplicated condition is described as uncomplicated or without certain symptoms, like appendicitis with or without acute exacerbation, or a mental condition with or without hallucinations, or gastric ulcers with or without bleeding.

It’s a good idea to avoid using unspecified codes or the ones that use the word “uncomplicated”. Those codes don’t really communicate the severity of a disease or condition process and often won’t support the CPT code (provider’s service) which may have been more intense and complicated than unspecified and uncomplicated designations imply, resulting in lower payments.

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