When among friends or other health information management (HIM) professionals, individuals who spend their working hours coding will readily acknowledge their “detail oriented” tendencies and admit to some degree of perfectionism. A lesser known habit of coding professionals, however, is conversation amongst themselves about their favorite codes—and everyone, it seems, has them.
Journal of AHIMA staff sought to peer inside the psyche of the coding professional by asking “What’s your favorite code and why?” Respondents’ answers at once demonstrated a sense of whimsy, gallows humor, attention to detail, and surprisingly philosophical sentiments.
“I was able to narrow down quickly which code I could use to describe myself to about five to six codes… most of them having to do with something accidentally on fire, such as plastic jewelry, water-skis, pajamas and the like. Asphyxiation in an old refrigerator was a runner-up for a short while, but a few seconds later it dawned on me that that might be just a little too morbid,” said Carolyn Veith, RHIT, coding and billing specialist with Allied Physicians Group. Veith also pointed to a series of codes that she feels reflects of the orderliness of coding professionals. “I’m not sure why, but for some reason I like bones—each one has its own name, structure, etc. It’s really heavy on anatomy but as long as providers document properly (sorry, I had to say it), it’s actually not that hard. ICD-10-CM has a pretty specific selection of codes when it comes to coding fracture locations and types, which makes it much easier to match up the code with what the provider describes in the medical record.”
While there are many bizarre ICD-10 codes to choose from, such as “burn due to water skis on fire” (Y93.D: V91.07XD) or “struck by a macaw, initial encounter” (W61.12XA), you might be surprised to learn that these odd codes are not always considered coding favorites.
Read the following slideshow and see if you can find your own coding soulmate amongst some of AHIMA’s most passionate coding experts.
Mary Butler is the associate editor at Journal of AHIMA.