External Cause Status Coding (Y99)

by  Wyn Staheli, Director of Research
April 1st, 2020

External cause codes are found in Chapter 20: External Causes of Morbidity (V00-Y99) of the Tabular List. They are secondary codes intended to provide data for injury research and evaluation of injury prevention strategies. Mandatory reporting of these codes is not required by all payers and even when they are required, it might only be in certain situations (e.g., drug overdose, personal injury). 

External cause codes identify:

Although there is no national requirement for mandatory external cause code reporting, voluntary reporting is encouraged. Be aware of individual state or payer requirements which may mandate their use. It may be helpful to review the chapter specific guidelines for external cause codes found in Section 1.C.20 of the ICD-10-CM Official Coding Guidelines 1.C.20.k (See References below). Also, there are several guidelines and definitions are also listed at the beginning of Chapter 20 within the Tabular List. A review of these rules is essential for a complete understanding of external cause code reporting.

Tip: When providers add these codes to a claim, it allows third parties to obtain information directly from the claim itself, without needing to review the medical records.

External Cause Coding Tips

The following are some pointers for coding from category Y99- External Cause Status:

Y99.0 Civilian activity done for income or pay
Y99.1 Military activity
Y99.2 Volunteer activity
Y99.8 Other external cause status


External Cause Status Coding (Y99). (2020, April 1). Find-A-Code Articles. Retrieved from https://www.findacode.com/articles/external-cause-status-coding-y99-36203.html

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