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Understanding headache classification coding within the veterans health administration using ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM in fiscal years 2014-2017.

Fodeh SJ, Fenton BT, Wang R, Skanderson M, Altalib H, Kuruvilla D, Schindler E, Haskell S, Brandt C, Sico JJ. Understanding headache classification coding within the veterans health administration using ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM in fiscal years 2014-2017. PLoS ONE. 2023 Jan 4; 18(1):e0279163.

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OBJECTIVES: Understand the continuity and changes in headache not-otherwise-specified (NOS), migraine, and post-traumatic headache (PTH) diagnoses after the transition from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). BACKGROUND: Headache is one of the most commonly diagnosed chronic conditions managed within primary and specialty care clinics. The VHA transitioned from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM on October-1-2015. The effect transitioning on coding of specific headache diagnoses is unknown. Accuracy of headache diagnosis is important since different headache types respond to different treatments. METHODS: We mapped headache diagnoses from ICD-9-CM (FY 2014/2015) onto ICD-10-CM (FY 2016/2017) and computed coding proportions two years before/after the transition in VHA. We used queries to determine the change in transition pathways. We report the odds of ICD-10-CM coding associated with ICD-9-CM controlling for provider type, and patient age, sex, and race/ethnicity. RESULTS: Only 37%, 58% and 34% of patients with ICD-9-CM coding of NOS, migraine, and PTH respectively had an ICD-10-CM headache diagnosis. Of those with an ICD-10-CM diagnosis, 73-79% had a single headache diagnosis. The odds ratios for receiving the same code in both ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM after adjustment for ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM headache comorbidities and sociodemographic factors were high (range 6-26) and statistically significant. Specifically, 75% of patients with headache NOS had received one headache diagnoses (Adjusted headache NOS-ICD-9-CM OR for headache NOS-ICD-10-CM = 6.1, 95% CI 5.89-6.32. 79% of migraineurs had one headache diagnoses, mostly migraine (Adjusted migraine-ICD-9-CM OR for migraine-ICD-10-CM = 26.43, 95% CI 25.51-27.38). The same held true for PTH (Adjusted PTH-ICD-9-CM OR for PTH-ICD-10-CM = 22.92, 95% CI: 18.97-27.68). These strong associations remained after adjustment for specialist care in ICD-10-CM follow-up period. DISCUSSION: The majority of people with ICD-9-CM headache diagnoses did not have an ICD-10-CM headache diagnosis. However, a given diagnosis in ICD-9-CM by a primary care provider (PCP) was significantly predictive of its assignment in ICD-10-CM as was seeing either a neurologist or physiatrist (compared to a generalist) for an ICD-10-CM headache diagnosis. CONCLUSION: When a veteran had a specific diagnosis in ICD-9-CM, the odds of being coded with the same diagnosis in ICD-10-CM were significantly higher. Specialist visit during the ICD-10-CM period was independently associated with all three ICD-10-CM headaches.

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