Pandemic, political unrest, protests, quarantine, unimaginable heartbreak, heroes emerging from the depths, unprecedented medical response, historic record-breaking vaccines, and a light at the end of the tunnel. That is what we have seen since our worlds were turned upside-down as a result of COVID-19.
Codes have been flying out of every medical standard at a lightning pace trying to keep up with the demand of the ever-changing ebb and flow of this new way of life. Telehealth codes take center stage in some arenas with technology being key to managing your health within the safety of your own home, and ICD-10-CM seems to have returned to more normal volumes of new codes with 191 new codes, 159 are billable codes set to launch this October.
Highlights from the new 2022 ICD-10 codes
The usual smattering of new technology and more granular codes to complete family hierarchies are sprinkled throughout this release, but there is one category that’s showing a significant spike in changes. With more and more states legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, it is no surprise to see almost one quarter of this year’s code updates are in Chapter 19: Injury, poisoning, & certain other consequences of external causes (S00-T88)
Social Determinants of Health
Speaking of the lightning pace of change, Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) is all the buzz in healthcare today. The pandemic has only highlighted the need to capture those all-important tidbits of information that may not be purely medical in nature but certainly affect and individual or populations health outcomes. This update contains 22 new codes in Chapter 21: Factors influencing health status and contact with health services (Z00-Z99). 13 of these codes are related to the very important areas of housing insecurity, food insecurity, and education level. They were identified as priorities and submitted for approval by the by the HL7 FHIR accelerator group called Gravity.
Cell therapy and cough hierarchy
A similar number of codes (12) were added for complications of immune effector cellular therapy, immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome, and a personal history of cellular therapy, a fascinating and evolving area of medicine to be sure.
Having worked in pulmonology, I realize the importance of identifying the many different types of coughs (chronic, acute, subacute and others). Apparently so does the CDC as they added 6 new codes into the R05: Cough hierarchy that better define those characteristics of a cough.
Impact of COVID-19
Not to be left out, COVID-19 related codes continue to be added to the codes set with two new U codes for Post-COVID condition and Post-COVID condition, unspecified. But perhaps my personal favorite in this category is the new Z code Z71.85 Encounter for immunization safety counseling. I suspect that one will get a lot of use in the coming months and years.