What Do Medical Code Numbers Mean?


Quick Answer

Medical code numbers describe medical diagnoses and procedures, and they are used to determine costs and reimbursements, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Standardized coding systems responsible for these numbers are essential to ensure that health care claims to insurers and Medicare are processed in a consistent manner.

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What Do Medical Code Numbers Mean?
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Full Answer

There are different types of numeric medical coding systems. Current procedural terminology, or CPT, codes describe every type of service a health care provider may provide to a patient, according to the American Medical Association. These codes are used to submit claims to insurance carriers or Medicare for reimbursement purposes. The CPT coding system is maintained by the American Medical Association, which meets yearly to re-examine and evaluate CPT codes as well as create new codes associated with new and emerging technologies.

International classification of diseases, or ICD, codes are developed by the World Health Organization and are used to describe diagnoses. The ICD is the standard diagnostic tool for epidemiology and health management, explains the World Health Organization. ICD codes are found in important patient records such hospital records or death certificates. The ICD is revised periodically and is currently in its 10th revision, known as ICD-10. All members of the World Health Organization use ICD codes to monitor diseases.

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