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What is a medical diagnosis codes list?

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Quick Answer

A medical diagnosis codes list is a list of codes that correspond to specific medical conditions, states the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization bases its codes upon the International Classification of Diseases, a standard diagnostic tool that is useful for clinical purposes, health management and epidemiology.

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What is a medical diagnosis codes list?
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Full Answer

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services publishes a routinely updated list of medical diagnosis codes on its website. Each code is a four or five-digit number that indicates a medical condition. The list often appears in a spreadsheet format, and it displays rows of diagnosis codes with their descriptions beside them.

Doctors, nurses, health information managers, health information technology workers and policymakers use ICD codes to record health problems and concisely communicate any number of health issues associated with various circumstances or people, according to the World Health Organization

Health care providers only assign medical diagnosis codes when a definitive diagnosis has been reached, states Medical Billing and Coding. Occasionally, in ambulances and emergency rooms, health care providers may assign codes that indicate a suspected diagnosis in order to justify whatever services they perform.

As of 2015, there are approximately 14,500 ICD medical diagnosis codes, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The current list, updated in October of 2014, is the tenth revision. An updated list is due out in 2017. Current and past lists are available in PDF at CMS.gov.

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