What Is the ICD-10-PCS Coding System?


Quick Answer

The ICD-10-PCS coding system is a series of alphanumeric codes assigned to medical procedures. ICD-10-PCS is endorsed by the World Health Organization, and WHO member nations began implementing the system in 1994, according to the American Health Information Management Association.

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ICD-10-PCS facilitates accurate medical billing and enables governments to collect and collate health data across large populations. ICD-10-PCS also provides a structure for the addition of new codes and standard terminology and language for disparate health care providers, states AHIMA.

ICD-10-PCS assigns every medical procedure a unique seven-character alphanumeric code. A given code may contain numbers from 0 to 9 and a range of letters from A to H, J to N, or P to Z. Coding within ICD-10-PCS is multiaxial, and each code character’s meaning transfers across different procedure sections, notes AHIMA. This is especially useful when care delivery transcends across different specialties.

Whereas the ICD-10-PCS predecessor ICD-9-CM frequently permitted the classification of procedures as “not otherwise specified” or “not elsewhere classified,” ICD-10-PCS has increased the number of digits per code from four to seven digits. Consequently, “not otherwise specified” is rarely used where ICD-10-PCS has been implemented, and “not elsewhere classified” is no longer permitted, states AHIMA. Hence, ICD-10-PCS is a highly integrated coding system designed for greater specificity in health care billing and data collection.

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