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ICD-10 Coding Example: Speech-Language Pathology

October 1 is nearly here; is your SLP practice ready to code using ICD-10? Click here to learn more and see our ICD-10 coding example!

Lauren Milligan
5 min read
August 21, 2015
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We’re only six weeks away from October 1, 2015, and you know what that means: ICD-10 is almost here. We’re super excited for the transition to ICD-10, but that doesn’t mean the new code set is a snap to learn. In fact, it’s pretty darn tough; we know that. So, to further assist you in your preparation efforts, we’ve put together this helpful SLP-specific example of how to code using ICD-10:

Autistic disorder

The Patient

The patient is a 4-year-old male who presents with the following conditions:

  • Nonverbal, with the exception of some echolalia
  • Age-appropriate receptive language skills
  • Limited expressive language skills (he uses a simple picture system to express his basic needs)
  • Sensory issues and eating resistance

The Codes

Primary Code

  • F84.0 for autistic disorder

Additional Codes

These codes indicate the reasons for outpatient therapy:

  • F80.1 for expressive language disorder
  • R48.8 for other symbolic dysfunctions
  • R63.3 for feeding difficulties

The Description Synonyms

What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to ICD-10, it’s everything. We made this example pretty simple, but keep in mind that we chose the ICD-10 code title (i.e., the name of the code itself) to describe and code for the patient’s condition. However, every code in this scenario has multiple alternative names to describe the same underlying concept. These alternatives—called description synonyms—exist to help providers search for the ICD-10 code that best fits the condition. Here are the description synonyms for the codes in this example:

Autistic disorder

The description synonyms for F84.0 are:

  1. Active infantile autism
  2. Autism disorder
  3. Autism disorder, residual state
  4. Autism, childhood onset
  5. Autism, infantile
  6. Autism, infantile, active
  7. Autism, residual
  8. Autistic disorder of childhood onset
  9. Childhood psychosis
  10. Psychosis in early childhood
  11. Psychosis with origin in childhood
  12. Psychosis, childhood, current or active state
  13. Psychosis, early child
  14. Psychosis, early childhood
  15. Residual infantile autism

Expressive language disorder

The description synonyms for F80.1 are:

  1. Developmental expressive language delay
  2. Developmental expressive language disorder
  3. Expressive developmental language delay
  4. Expressive language delay
  5. Expressive language delay, mild
  6. Expressive language delay, moderate
  7. Expressive language delay, severe
  8. Language disorder, expressive
  9. Mild expressive language delay
  10. Moderate expressive language delay
  11. Severe expressive language delay

Other symbolic dysfunctions

The description synonyms for R48.8 are:

  1. Aphasia, angular gyrus syndrome
  2. Aphasia-angular gyrus syndrome
  3. Gerstmann syndrome

Feeding difficulties

The description synonyms for R63.3 are:

  1. Developmental delay in feeding
  2. Developmental delay, feeding
  3. Feeding delay, developmental

The Summary

If this example seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. That’s why we’re hosting a free, 90-minute online ICD-10 Bootcamp webinar on August 31. Don’t miss your chance to receive step-by-step guidance on how to code for this example—and ones that are even more complex. Register for our webinar to reserve your spot.


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