Coding for post-traumatic stress disorder should not cause too much anxiety once you know a few things:

  1. Know what to look for in the documentation, such as whether the condition is acute or chronic.
  2. Know how to find the correct code in the ICD-10-CM coding manual.
  3. Have an understanding of the coding guidelines as they apply to symptoms that are integral to the disease process.   

You will learn it all in this post.

post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and 3 things to know to code for it in ICD-10

Question: A 16-year-old female patient is seen today with complaints of severe anxiety, anger, flashbacks, and difficulty sleeping that has lasted four months. Patient was previously seen in the emergency room after sustaining a gunshot wound to the left shoulder. Following examination, the patient is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Assign the ICD-10-CM code for the PTSD.

Answer:  

F43.10, post-traumatic stress disorder, unspecified

PTSD Codes

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is reported with ICD-10-CM codes from Chapter 5. Mental, Behavioral and Neurodevelopmental disorders (F01-F99), block F40-F48 Anxiety, dissociative, stress-related, somatoform and other nonpsychotic mental disorders.

The ICD-10 reportable codes for PTSD include:

  • F43.10, post-traumatic stress disorder, unspecified
  • F43.11, post-traumatic stress disorder, acute
  • F43.12, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic

Locate and Verify

Looking in the ICD-10-CM coding manual Index, see Disorder (of) – see also Disease, post-traumatic stress (PTSD) F43.10.

This code can be verified in the Tabular as F43.10 Post-traumatic stress disorder, unspecified.

See the instructional notes at F01-F99 that states:

Includes: disorders of psychological development

Excludes2: symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified (R00-R99)

The documentation does not specify the PTSD is acute or chronic, so we need to go with the unspecified code.

Guidelines

Associated Symptoms

Based on the coding guidelines, there is no need to assign for the symptoms here, because anxiety, anger, flashbacks, and difficulty sleeping are all symptoms of PTSD 

According to the ICD-10-CM Coding Guidelines:

“Signs and symptoms that are associated routinely with a disease process should not be assigned as additional codes unless otherwise instructed by the classification.”

Additional Information

What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault.”

Several of the following symptoms occur in PTSD and can vary in severity:

  • Repeated, involuntary memories
  • Distressing dreams
  • Flashbacks of the event
  • Avoidance of certain people, places, activities, objects, and situations
  • Distorted beliefs about oneself
  • Inability to recall parts of the event
  • Constant fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
  • Feeling of detachment
  • Acting out in a self-destructive manner
  • Easily startled
  • Trouble concentrating or sleeping

Symptoms of PTSD often occur within three months of a traumatic event, but they may appear later. For a person to be diagnosed with PTSD, the symptoms must last for more than a month, and many times they persist for months or even years. 


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