Q: How to Locate Ecodes — “What is the best way to ‘learn’ how to locate E codes?”

A: I think they’re talking about ICD-9 here because they did a follow-up saying something about injuries. When we talk about E codes, we’ve talking about E codes for years. We’ve been in ICD-9 for 30 years until last year, they are now V, W, X, and Y, so make sure you’re calling them external cause codes or V-Y codes or something because now if we say E codes, those are endocrine, diabetes, that sort of thing.

VIDEO: How To Locate ECodes — The Best Way to Learn

But if we’re talking about external cause codes, which I believe this question was about, the easiest way to learn how to locate the E codes is if you look at the guidelines for the E codes, the very first guideline tells you that these codes serve five purposes. They tell you how the injury happened, like the cause, did we fall down, car accident, whatever. Was it intentional or not? Was it a suicide, was it an assault, or was it an act of terrorism? Where was it, what were they doing, and were they being paid? Those are the five questions that you have to ask yourself to get the right Ecodes.

The best way to do this to find and learn how to locate them is pick a color for everything except the cause and highlight these terms in your manual. So, when we talk about: Was it intentional? Find the word suicide, find the word assault, find the word terrorism and highlight them in one color, because you know that’s what you need for your second code, it’s got to be one of those three.

Where did it happen? Go to the place and highlight the place of occurrence codes back in the external cause index, put them in a different color, then your intentional codes. Find your activity codes, that’s – what were they doing, put them in the third color. Then, go find your status codes, that’s – where they being paid, were they volunteer, that sort of thing, and put them in a fourth color. That way you know anything that’s white has to be a cause code, and that’s the easiest way to find what caused it. Was it a car accident? Was it a fall? Was it striking against an object? Was it getting hit with a sword? What was it? Then, those other four are your supplemental codes. That’s what it makes me think of, that’s the easiest way to work through them.

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About the Author:

Chandra Stephenson
Chandra Stephenson, CPC, CIC, COC, CPB, CPCO, CPMA, CPPM, CRC, CPC-I, CCS, CANPC, CCC, CEMC, CFPC, CGSC, CIMC, COBGC, COSC CCO Program Director, has over 13 years coding and auditing experience and holds many certifications through the AAPC and AHIMA. She is a National ICD-10 Trainer for AAPC and served as a representative for the Great Lakes Region on the AAPC’s 2013-2015 National Advisory Board. She offers extensive experience in centralized billing, family practice, cardiology, GI, mental health, anesthesia, and multi-specialty environments. She has worked as an adjunct college instructor in medical coding, a compliance auditor for one of the largest healthcare systems in Indiana, and as a Big 5 consultant. She is currently an independent consultant and enjoys teaching and finding ways to simplify the world of coding accuracy and education.

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