Time for a Halloween Coding Fright-Fest!

Happy Halloween, Coders!

We’ve had some fun in the past with Halloween-themed codes, but there are still a few left, especially if we throw some ICD-11 into the witchy brew. Here’s a quick quiz to get you in the spooky spirit.

How to Treat Problematic Arachnid Blood Vessels

Stephen Spider comes into the office complaining about some veins that have become a pest. How do you code the treatment?

Use code 36468 (Injection(s) of sclerosant for spider veins (telangiectasia), limb or trunk) for this one! You’ll want to review the coverage rules for this treatment, though. You and the patient don’t want to get a hair-raising shock when you hear back from the payer.

Get Me Out of This Spooky Place So I Can Code!

You’re in a haunted house, and an icy breeze wafts up your spine. Talk about getting the shivers! What’s the ICD-10-CM code? Because of course that’s what you’re thinking about, right?

If your fingers stop shaking long enough, you can type in R68.83 (Chills (without fever)). And if you really need to get your mind off that spine-tingling experience, you can head over to the ICD-11 Coding Tool (it’s a WHO work in progress), and look up chills there. As of October 2018, the ICD-11 code for chills is MG21.

An Owl Ophthalmologist? Why Not!

A coworker sees that you’ve got an infection of the eyelid, and she suggests that you go see Dr. Hoo, an eye doctor who happens to be an owl. He specializes in a very limited number of diagnoses. Any guesses what diagnosis category is Dr. Hoo’s area of focus?

Well, it’s H00.- (Hordeolum and chalazion). Under ICD-11, hordeolum falls under 9A01.2- and chalazion is under 9A02.0-. But maybe Dr. Hoo will be ready to retire by the time ICD-11 is used for U.S. healthcare instead of the ICD-10 H00.- range.

Escape the Bat, but Not the Cat

Usually you’re a fan of bats. They leave you alone; you leave them alone. But that one with the little cape that’s zooming right at your neck is not one you want to meet! You manage to run inside, but you startle your sweet cat when you slam the door. She gives you a scratch on the side of your neck to say hello, but that’s better than a vampire bite. When the sun is up, you think about how the coding would go.

If you aren’t showing signs of infection within a couple of weeks after the cat broke the skin, then the good news is you probably don’t have cat-scratch disease (A28.1 in ICD-10-CM, 1B98 in ICD-11). The ICD-10-CM Index entry for Cat-scratch says to “see also Abrasion.” The entry for Scratch also directs you to Abrasion. Depending on the case, you could be looking at S10.81XA (Abrasion of other specified part of neck, initial encounter). And for an external cause code, you could use W55.03XA (Scratched by cat, initial encounter). ICD-11 has options like NA20.Y (Other specified superficial injury of neck), XA2ZF0 (Side of neck), XJ652 (Abrasion), and XE4V0 (Cat).

Best Online Coder for Dr. Bones

Which TCI SuperCoder online Coder would Dr. Bones, your friendly neighborhood skeleton doctor, be most likely to choose?

Orthopedic Coder, of course! Come to think of it, Dr. Bones might like Intuitive Coder for Orthopedics, too. He was one of the models for the clickable anatomic images, after all.

What About You?

What’s your favorite Halloween-themed code?


Deborah works on a wide range of TCI SuperCoder projects, researching and writing about coding, as well as assisting with data updates and tool development for our online coding solutions. Since joining TCI in 2004, she’s covered the ins and outs of coding for radiology, cardiology, oncology and hematology, orthopedics, audiology, and more.

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