Code Freeze Ends with Release of New ICD-10-CM/PCS Codes

Correction: A previous version of this article contained inaccurate information on the public comment procedure for the updated ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code sets. Public comments were only being accepted through April 8, 2016 on code proposals presented at the March ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee meeting, not the full posted code update lists. The Journal of AHIMA apologizes for this error.

Following the release of the new ICD-10-PCS codes last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surprised the industry today by also releasing updates to ICD-10-CM, effectively ending the five year ICD-10 code update freeze initiated to ease the healthcare industry into the new code set.

A total of 1,943 new ICD-10-CM codes were released by the CDC, and 3,651 new ICD-10-PCS codes were released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Once finalized following a public review period currently underway, the healthcare industry must start using the updated codes by October 1, 2016.

The new codes reflect recent advances and changes in medicine, and allow coders the ability to better capture care provided to patients.

“These codes will provide so much more granular data. This is information that will be very important for these physicians and their patients,” said Angie Comfort, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, a director of HIM practice excellence at AHIMA. “Over time, this more granular data should provide insight for doctors that can help patient outcomes.”

The new code lists were released by the CDC and CMS earlier than some industry experts had expected, a relief to coding professionals who are now tasked with learning the new code lists while likely still getting used to general ICD-10-CM/PCS coding.

The vast majority of the new ICD-10-PCS codes deal with the cardiovascular system—with many related to unique device values, the addition of bifurcation, congenital cardiac procedures, and placement of an intravascular neurostimulator. The ICD-10-CM code update subjects vary widely—from fractures to pregnancy complications to specifics on pancreatitis.

“The release of the new ICD-10-PCS and ICD-10-CM codes will provide additional time for the industry to prepare, and the new codes will enhance the specificity of patient stories captured in their health records,” said Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA, the CEO of AHIMA. “The healthcare community proved during a smooth transition to ICD-10 that it is well equipped to meet this opportunity and challenge. As always, AHIMA continues to stand ready to help providers meet the implementation deadline for these important coding updates.”

In addition to the new codes, the update also includes revisions and deletions. In the ICD-10-CM proposed update, 422 codes were revised and 305 were deleted. In the proposed ICD-10-PCS update, 351 codes were revised and 313 were deleted.

A list of the proposed, new ICD-10-CM codes are available on the CDC website here. The proposed new ICD-10-PCS codes are available on the CMS website here.

Code proposals presented at the March 2016 ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee meeting that are being considered for implementation on October 1, 2016 were not included in the first version of these code lists.

The complete Addenda identifying all modifications to the ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS code sets is expected to be posted in June. For ICD-10-CM, the final addendum will be posted at For ICD-10-PCS, the final addendum will be posted at

Following the October 1, 2016 update, the system for updating ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS will get back on its normal cycle of an annual update. For more information on preparing for the new codes, visit

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