ICD Codes Explained

In a previous post, we've explained some common sets of codes for dietitians. Today, we've delving into the specifics of ICD codes, which are used to describe patient diagnoses.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provides a detailed list of ICD-10/ICD-9 codes used most commonly for Medical Nutrition Therapy. As of October 2015, you're required to use the ICD-10 code set; for prior claims, ICD-9 codes may be used.

When filing claims, we recommend that you use any codes referred by a patient's primary care provider, and the code for dietary counseling and surveillance, Z71.3, depending on the eligibility check.

The Anatomy of an ICD-10 Code

When discussing the structure of ICD codes, we'll use the code for dietary counseling and surveillance, Z71.3:

  • The first character is an alpha character: Z71.3
  • The second & third characters are numeric: Z71.3

The first three represent a category of which the diagnosis belongs, such as with diabetes = E08, E09, E10, E11. The digits after the decimal point provide further detail as to the anatomical area and severity of the condition.

A seventh character is sometimes implemented to further explain a patient's appointment.

Healthy Bytes Tips

A key to correctly inputting diagnosis codes for reimbursement is not to input too many. More than three codes tend to prevent systems from reimbursing correctly. Using clear, correct codes is the way to get a timely, accurate response from the insurance companies. 

With Healthy Bytes, you can avoid memorizing codes for different conditions, and simply type in the descriptions of codes you're searching for