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Gloryanne Bryant

With continued discussion about the coming adoption of the ICD-10 code set, we learn more and more about its great assets, which provide enhanced views into many different diseases. Yes, there are still some non-supporters of ICD-10, and it’s a real shame that they don’t see the value to our patient population – as that is what this is all about. One of the problems is that those who are opposing ICD-10 implementation are not becoming more knowledgeable and learning about the code set itself.  

Although chronic disease data focus often falls on the senior population, the younger or non-senior population is equally important. The condition of asthma is a disease that affects a large number of people. Statistics show that in the United States, asthma is one of the most common chronic disorders in childhood, currently affecting an estimated 7.1 million children under 18 years (of which 4.1 million suffered from an asthma attack or episode in 2011).

Asthma can be a life-threatening disease if not properly managed. In 2011, a total of 3,345 deaths were attributed to asthma. However, deaths due to asthma are rare among children. The number of deaths increases with age. In 2011, a total of 169 children under 15 died from asthma, compared to 633 adults over 85.

ICD-10-CM has incorporated new clinical terminology so that asthma now can be categorized by degree of severity — mild, moderate, or severe. 

See the following example:

J45 Asthma

J45.2 Mild intermittent asthma

      J45.20 …… uncomplicated

       J45.21 …… with (acute) exacerbation

       J45.22 …… with status asthmaticus

An Additional example:

J45.50 Severe persistent asthma, uncomplicated  

Replaces ICD-9-CM:

493.00 Extrinsic asthma, unspecified 
493.10 Intrinsic asthma, unspecified

In ICD-10. asthma is further categorized as either intermittent or persistent (intermittent often means the asthma has an external trigger; therefore, it is extrinsic/allergic in its cause. This is a great benefit of the new code set.) 

Keep in mind that the ICD-10 code set will be used to monitor the incidence and prevalence of diseases and other health problems. It will be used to classify diseases and other health problems recorded on many types of health and vital records, including death certificates and health records.

The ICD-10-CM/PCS code set should not be and is not a political matter, but rather a matter of improved healthcare, clinical data, and information about patient suffering, treatment, and outcomes. It’s about population health; for detection, treatment, and prevention, we must have ICD-10 implemented in 2015. We cannot wait, and our children cannot wait – and they should not have to wait.

The time is now, so advocate for ICD-10 and share this important information with others in the industry.. 

About the Author

Gloryanne Bryant is a health information management (HIM) coding professional and advocate with more than 30 years of experience in the field. Gloryanne is past president of the California Health Information Association (CHIA) and CHIA advocacy liaison.

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