New ICD-10-CM Codes a 'Big Switch-Over' for Neurocognitive Disorders

Megan Brooks

October 10, 2022

Revised ICD-10-CM codes for neurocognitive disorders are now in effect, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has announced

The coding changes for major and mild neurocognitive disorders represent "the most consequential" coding changes for DSM-5 disorders since the October 1, 2015, changeover from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM," Michael First, MD, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University, in New York, writes in statement published in Psychiatric News.

The updated codes for neurocognitive disorders are "much more specific and indicate all the different types of behavioral problems that could occur with dementia," First, who served as editor of the DSM-5-TR, added in an interview with Medscape Medical News.

This year, coding changes that affect psychiatry are largely confined to major and mild neurocognitive disorders, but they represent "a big switch-over," First said.

What's New

The first three characters that make up the ICD-10-CM code for major neurocognitive disorder depend on the type of etiologic medical condition and are unchanged:

  • F01 for major neurocognitive disorder due to vascular disease

  • F02 for major neurocognitive disorder due to other medical conditions in which the specific etiologic medical condition is indicated by also listing the ICD-10-CM code for the medical condition

  • F03 for major neurocognitive disorder when the medical etiology is unknown

However, DSM-5-TR diagnostic criteria for major neurocognitive disorder include severity specifiers (mild, moderate, severe), but there is no provision for indicating this "clinically important" information in the current ICD-10-CM code for major neurocognitive disorder, First explained.

This year's coding changes for major neurocognitive disorder include the provision of a fourth character code to indicate the severity of the major neurocognitive disorder ― "A" indicates mild (difficulties with instrumental activities of daily living, such as housework and managing money); "B," moderate (difficulties with basic activities of daily living, such as feeding and dressing); and "C," severe (fully dependent) impairment.

The coding changes for major neurocognitive disorder also now include fifth and sixth characters to indicate the presence of an accompanying behavioral or psychological disturbance, such as agitation, psychotic disturbance, mood symptoms, and anxiety.

The update, which went into effect October 1, also adds to ICD-10-CM two new mental disorder codes, F06.71 and F06.70 for mild neurocognitive disorder due to a medical condition with or without a behavioral disturbance, respectively.

The coding changes affecting psychiatry are outlined in the APA's 2022 DSM-5-TR Update: Supplement to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and DSM-5-TR Neurocognitive Disorders Supplement.

Annual Event

Every October 1, ICD-10-CM codes for all of medicine are updated, with new codes being added and others revised or deleted. Only a small fraction of the 68,000 codes is affected. Last year, 159 new codes were added, 25 codes were deleted, and 27 existing codes were revised.

All HIPAA-compliant healthcare entities are required to use the most up-to-date ICD-10-CM codes.

"I think there's a grace period where you can still use the old codes, but there will be a point where if you use the old code, it'll get rejected because it won't be considered a valid code," said First.

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