Why is it so hard to code for a tick bite? And, how is it coded?
The provider searches for the word “tick” and in many systems, up pops W57.xxxA. Someone helpful has changed the ICD-10 definition to include the word tick, although the ICD-10 definition is “Bitten or stung by nonvenomous insect and other nonvenomous arthropods, initial encounter.” A tick is an arthropod.
But, the problem with that is, W57.xxxA is an external cause code. It may not be submitted in the first position on the claim form, and often it is the only code selected by the provider. The first code should be an S code that describes the location of the bite, such as S70.362A “Insect bite (nonvenomous), left thigh, initial encounter.”
So, it isn’t that it is difficult to code for a tick bite, it’s that there are two steps and the super easy, quick search leads providers astray.
Reviewed, Betsy Nicoletti 1/18/2020
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