The ICD-10-CM Alphabetic Index entry for 'Diabetes with' includes listings for conditions associated with diabetes, which was not the case in ICD-9-CM. Does the provider need to document a relationship between the two conditions or should the coder assume a causal relationship?
According to the ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting, the term “with” means “associated with” or “due to,” when it appears in a code title, the Alphabetic Index, or an instructional note in the Tabular List, and this is how it’s meant to be interpreted when assigning codes for diabetes with associated manifestations and/or conditions. The classification assumes a cause-and-effect relationship between diabetes and certain diseases of the kidneys, nerves, and circulatory system. Assumed cause-and-effect relationships in the classification are not necessarily the same in ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM.
However, if the physician documentation specifies diabetes mellitus is not the underlying cause of the other condition, the condition should not be coded as a diabetic complication. When the coder is unable to determine whether a condition is related to diabetes mellitus, or the ICD-10-CM classification does not provide coding instruction, it is appropriate to query the physician for clarification so that the appropriate codes may be reported. (See ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting, Section I.A.15.)
In addition, the following advice published in Coding Clinic, Third Quarter 2012, page 3, also applies to ICD-10-CM:
"It is not required that two conditions be listed together in the health record. However, the provider needs to document the linkage, except for situations where the classification assumes an association (e.g., hypertension with chronic kidney involvement). When the provider establishes a linkage or relationship between the two conditions, they should be coded as such. However, the entire record should be reviewed to determine whether a relationship between the two conditions exists. The fact that a patient has two conditions that commonly occur together does not necessarily mean they are related. A different cause may be documented by the provider. If it is not clear whether or not two conditions are related, query the provider."