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6 Challenges for Mental Health Providers Using ICD-10

6 Challenges for Mental Health Providers Using ICD-10

  • Here are 6 documentation and coding issues to help guide clinicians.
  • Best practice: record the diagnoses in the numerical order in which they appear in the ICD-10-CM classification.
  • The term “disorder” is used to allow the existence of a clinically recognizable set of symptoms and/or behavior.
  • Although ICD-9-CM doesn’t distinguish between use, abuse, and dependence, ICD-10-CM does.
  • A number of categories that frequently will be used by those working with children may be located in the general sections under “classifications” due to frequent onset/occurrence in adults and children.
  • New disorders of adult behavior.
  • Clinicians must document visit type in many ICD-10-CM codes.

Mental health providers are in the unique position of using DSM-5 to support their current ICD-9-CM coding. This will not change with ICD-10-CM. As a result, DSM-5 already includes ICD-10 codes to help providers prepare for the transition. But this is not enough to prepare providers adequately for the change.

Here are 6 documentation and coding issues to help guide clinicians transitioning to ICD-10.

1. Multiple Diagnosis Codes

2. Terminology Change

3. Substance abuse, use, and dependence

4. Special Considerations for Children

5. New Disorders

6. Visit type

With over 300 new codes for mental health providers, along with some of these other key changes, there is value in reviewing ICD-10-CM Chapter 5 on mental, behavioral, and neurodevelopmental disorders. To gain a better understanding of coding of mental health services, the American Psychological Association is also offering specialty-specific resources. These two resources are a good place to start to begin improving documentation and getting familiar with the new codes.

Further information
The New, Confusing CPT Codes: How to Get Paid for What You Deserve (Podcast)
Seeing the Forest Through the Fees

To view the slides in PDF format, click here.

Ms Cavanaugh is an American Health Information Management Association approved ICD-10-CM trainer, certified coder, certified professional biller, and certified medical reimbursement specialist at Kareo. E-mail: michelle.cavanaugh@kareo.com.



I have been informed that the DSM 5, ICD 10 codes do match the required ICD 10 codes for some behavioral health diagnosis. Can you inform me which of these codes differ from DSM % ICD 10 codes ?

Sylvia @

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