The most misunderstood ICD-10 character

By Carl Natale
05:54 PM

When someone makes an ICD-10 joke about subsequent encounters with a lamppost or turtle, they're getting a basic part of ICD-10 coding wrong.

That seventh character is about a patient's encounter with physician, not how many similar injuries he or she has had:
• A: Initial encounter
• D: Subsequent encounter
• S: Sequelae, treatment for condition that arises as a direct result of the acute illness or injury

And the ICD-10 code is invalid without it. If the encounter info doesn't apply, then "X" needs to be added so there are seven characters in the valid ICD-10 code.

Check out the following ICD-10 examples:
• Battling bad bacteria: Legionnaire's disease moves from respiratory to infectious diseases. (ICD-10 Trainer)
• ICD-10-CM/PCS – Part 57: A dedicated smoker who needs coronary care. (Codebusters)
• The armadillo strikes back: There's a reason why we don't have an ICD-10 code for "Shot by an armadillo." (ICD-10 Trainer)
• Sweet Tips for Diabetes Coding: Background on the disease and how the diagnosis codes are organized. (