Find-A-Code Focus Newsletter

Locating a code in ICD-10-CM

By Chris Woolstenhulme, CMRS
October 09, 2015

Locating a code in ICD-10-CM

By:  Chris Woolstenhulme, CMRS
Published: September 17th, 2015

There are three basic steps to locating the correct code in ICD-10

 First:       Find the condition in the alphabetic Index

 Second:  Verify the code and identify the highest specificity in the tabular index

 Third:     Review the chapter specific coding guidelines


 B. General Coding Guidelines

 1. Locating a code in the ICD-10-CM

To select a code in the classification that corresponds to a diagnosis or reason for visit documented in a medical record, first locate the term in the Alphabetic Index, and then verify the code in the Tabular List.

Read and be guided by instructional notations that appear in both the Alphabetic Index and the Tabular List. It is essential to use both the Alphabetic Index and Tabular List when locating and assigning a code. The Alphabetic index does not always provide the full code.

Selection of the full code, including laterality and any applicable 7th character can only be done in the Tabular List. A dash (-) at the end of an Alphabetic Index entry indicates that additional characters are required. Even if a dash is not included at the Alphabetic Index entry, it is necessary to refer to the Tabular List to verify that no 7th character is required.




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