This post was revised on 10/5/2021 to reflect the ICD-10-CM code changes for FY 2022.
Did you know there is a way to master ICD-10-CM codes by the chapter letters? Obviously, there is no way to remember all of the codes in ICD-10-CM, especially since there are 72,739 of them. There is a strategy, however, that you can use that will get you into the right ballpark, so to speak?
In this post, I’ll cover some of the coding changes that have been made for FY 2022. I will also explain how to master ICD-10-CM codes by the chapter letters and provide you with a fantastic cheat sheet for quick reference. You will love it!
ICD-10-CM Codes (FY 2022)
The ICD-10-CM coding updates for fiscal year 2022 took effect on October 1, 2021 and are valid until September 30, 2022, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The new code set includes 159 new codes, 20 revised codes, and 18 deleted codes.
Some changes involved the following:
- Expansion of toxic encephalopathy (G92)
- Expansion of depression (F32.-)
- New code for Post-COVID-19 Condition, Unspecified (U09.9)
Most of the changes occurred in these chapters:
- Chapter 19: Injuries, Poisonings and Certain Other Consequences of External Causes – 45 new codes
- Chapter 13: Diseases of the Musculoskeletal System and Connective Tissue – 23 new codes added
- Chapter 21: Factors Influencing Health Status and Contact with Health Services – 19 new codes added
- Chapter 18: Symptoms, Signs and Abnormal Clinical Laboratory Findings – 14 new codes added
- Chapter 11: Diseases of the Digestive System – 13 new codes added
- Chapter 6: Diseases of the Nervous System – 10 new codes added
- Chapter 16: Certain Conditions Originating in the Perinatal Period – 9 new codes added
Additional code updates took effect in other chapters but on a smaller scale. For a full list of all the changes, be sure to review the new ICD-10-CM tabular addenda provided on the CDC website.
The ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting were also updated for FY 2022, so you will want to make sure to review those as well.
Although it is impossible for a medical coder to memorize all the ICD-10-CM codes, there is a way to get you close. That’s what Laurie Johnson states, and I agree. It’s called mnemonics.
Mnemonics is a strategy used to help improve your memory and learn important information.
Let me explain:
In ICD-10-CM, the first digit of each code is an alpha character. By using mnemonics, you can connect the first letter of a diagnosis code with the corresponding ICD-10-CM chapter. This will not only make it easier for you to find the first letter of the ICD-10-CM code, but it will also make it quicker.
And time is critical when you are taking a medical coding exam!
That’s why I have created an ICD-10-CM Chapter Cheat Sheet, which you can sign up for down below.
Chapters in ICD-10-CM
There are currently 22 chapters in ICD-10-CM for FY 2022. The codes range from A00 to Z99 and are described below.
Things to Keep in Mind
Some things to note as it relates to the codes in ICD-10-CM:
- Each code starts with a letter.
- Each letter is associated with a specific chapter in ICD-10-CM.
- Some chapters have more than one letter, such as Chapters 1 (A, B), 2 (C, D), 19 (S, T), and 20 (V, W, X, Y).
- Some chapters share beginning letters, such as Chapters 2 and 3 (D) and Chapters 7 and 8 (H).
Once you learn the associated mnemonic for each chapter, you will be able to determine the appropriate chapter for a given code.
The mnemonic for each chapter is listed on the ICD-10-CM Chapter Cheat Sheet that I am providing through the signup form.
For additional information about the specific types of codes that can be found in each chapter, refer to your current ICD-10-CM coding manual.
Here are some examples to help you better understand how mnemonics will help you determine the first letter and chapter for each code.
The mnemonic for Chapter 9, Diseases of the circulatory system (I00-I99), is “Infarction.” Think myocardial infarction or heart attack. This relates to the circulatory system. Therefore, a code related to the circulatory system begins with the letter “I.”
Taken from a different angle, if we see code I10, we immediately know that this code relates to the circulatory system. How do we know this? We know this based on the first letter “I.” And if we look up I10 in the ICD-10-CM coding manual, I10 refers to Essential (primary) hypertension. Hypertension is high blood pressure and it relates to the heart, or circulatory system (Chapter 9).
The mnemonic for Chapter 4, Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases (E00-E89), is “Endocrine.” If we see an exam question with E11.65 as one of the possible answers, we can see from the first letter “E” that it relates to the endocrine system. When looking up E11.65, it takes us to Type 2 diabetes mellitus with hyperglycemia.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a disorder of the endocrine system, and hyperglycemia is a complication of diabetes. Therefore, it makes sense that the first letter is “E“.
A patient is diagnosed with major depressive disorder, recurrent, mild.
If I know my mnemonics, even before I look up the code for this diagnosis, I know that the first letter of the code is an “F“. The reason I know this is because the mnemonic for Chapter 5, Mental, behavioral, and neurodevelopmental disorders (F01-F99), is “Feelings of hopelessness.” The first letter is “F,” and depression codes are located in Chapter 5.
I can verify this by looking up the code in the Alphabetic Index under disorder, depressive, major, recurrent, F33 Major depressive disorder, recurrent. In the Tabular, F33.0 can be verified as Major depressive disorder, recurrent, mild.
Hopefully, now you get the idea as to how mnemonics work for mastering ICD-10-CM codes by the chapter letters.
And once you have the ICD-10-CM Chapter Cheat Sheet with all of the mnemonics listed, it should be even more clear and make things much easier.
So download the free cheat sheet and please comment below to let me know if it’s been helpful. If you find it helpful — and I believe you will — please be sure to share this link with others who may be interested.
Note: This Chapter Cheat Sheet is the same one as I offered for FY 2021. No changes have been made.
You may also want to share the image below on Pinterest so others can learn from it as well.
But that’s not all! After you have reviewed this information and downloaded the chapter cheat sheet, be sure and take the short quiz to find out if you are a true ICD-10-CM Medical Coding Expert!