Alicia: Oh last month, we had E codes and this month we get V codes. What are V Codes in medical coding? They’re very exciting. Not as much fun as E codes which I remember somebody said they called them ‘entertainment codes’. We’ll call V codes ‘valuable codes’. When you think of a V code, what you want to know… you know, people get confused because they think, “Well, there’s… you know, how do I know when I need to use a V code?” And that can get very confusing. But if we go ahead and jump to the… what do they say, “Patient fell at home and broke an arm. Code the break. Use an E code.” Well, a V code, if they had said that the person had a history of something that’s related to the break or something, then you’d want to put in a V code. So if we jump to the answer…
What Are V Codes in Medical Coding? VIDEO
Alicia: The V codes, you have to think about them as… if you’re thinking of a painting… this what I used to tell my students that you know, you’re painting a picture for the insurance company to explain what’s wrong with that patient. And you have codes, E codes are kind of like your highlights and stuff and the V codes give definition to you know, makes it pop. The reason you’re going to use a V code is to explain why a patient’s being seen other than for an injury or disease. Okay so it’s almost like it’s the background behind why the patient’s being seen. And there’s 4 main categories as to why a person would be seen other than an injury or disease. And the first one, the person’s not sick but is being seen. Okay, two was resolving a disease, injury, or chronic long term condition. Three, history pertinent to care. And four, newborn birth status.
Okay if we scroll down just a little bit, I give some more examples. The first one, patient seen today for a varicella vaccination, V05.4. So the person’s not sick but they’re being seen. So to explain why they’re being seen when they’re not sick or injured, you have a V code. They’re getting a vaccination.
Okay, number 2 – Xray reveals right lobe pneumonia. Patient is ventilator-dependent, V46.11. Okay now the person is sick but what’s pertinent is this person is on a ventilator. And if this person’s on a ventilator, that’s pertinent to the care of that patient because now they have pneumonia. It’s the background behind what’s happening with that patient.
Three, order giving for glucose tolerance test. A patient has family history of diabetes, V18.0. Okay well, just because the patient has some symptoms of diabetes may not be enough to justify going in and having a glucose tolerance test. But if you tell the insurance company that there’s a family history of diabetes, V18.0, then there’s no question whatsoever. It’s pertinent to the care of the patient.
Okay, four – male infant born in ambulance in route to hospital. Okay, V30.1. Whenever a baby’s born, you got to tell what the status of that baby was born, whether they were born alive, stillborn, how many babies were born at one time. It even breaks down to the one on here. It’s usually V30.0 which is born in the hospital and V30.1 is born outside of the hospital which I thought was kind of cool.
Okay, special things to note about V codes, these are things that you want to keep in the back of your head when you’re wanting to think, “Can I put a V code in this?” They’re used both for inpatient and outpatient settings. Okay, more often used for outpatient. They can be listed as primary or secondary codes unlike E codes. Now if you remember from last month, they could not be listed as primary codes. They can only be a secondary code. V codes, especially like with vaccinations and stuff, they’re first listed. A V code will help describe the reason for the encounter. Just like your guy’s got pneumonia, well, he’s on a ventilator. That’s another reason why they’re being seen. A vaccination, that’s why they’re being seen.
To look up a V code, you use the index just like you do with other codes. Now remember that E codes have their own little private index? V codes are in your alphabetic index with the other codes. Coders need to be aware of the different types of V codes.
Now E codes section is very small you know, so you could kind of read through that sometimes and just go find your code. You might not need that index. But with V codes, they’re not as.. they’re bigger than your index for your… how do I say that? I’m saying that wrong. E codes, there’s not that many to choose from. There’s more V codes but of course, they’re not as many as regular codes. So you still probably want to use your index when you’re looking u pa V code. Unless you just have something memorized like you know, baby’s been born. You’re going to need a V30 code.
What you need to do is be very familiar with the different categories of V codes. For example, preventative medicine like the vaccination. You also need to be familiar with the… like births that you know, that the babies being born. History codes, there’s personal history codes and there’s family history codes. And that’s just some common ones. It’s very broad. You’ve got status codes. You’ve got long term insulin use, V58.67. Someone has a BMI that’s high, V85 point something. You know, this is all pertinent to their care.
So you’d also want to be aware, physicians use different verbage sometimes to make it difficult to pull out V codes. So if you’re aware of what V codes are out there or the categories that are available to you, it’s going to benefit you in being able to tell, “Do I need to use a V code?” or “Can I use a V code?” The best thing you can do is read and become familiar with those V codes. And they’re pretty interesting so you can flip through them. Not as interesting as V codes but you know, go through and look at the categories. Don’t read them individually but just check your sections and say, “Oh, okay. Now I see, family history codes.” Now look, these are all the different types of family history codes that apply. And as you get familiar with them, you’ll find that they pop out when you’re reading. So you won’t have as much trouble pegging them for a scenario or for the test.