Though hospice has only been around since 1983, the number of Medicare recipients receiving these services has nearly tripled since then, growing to a full 1.5 million in 2017. In these 35 years, hospice principal diagnoses have changed dramatically. In the early 2000s, lung cancer was the most frequently reported condition. As recently as 2013, two of the top ten diagnoses were simply “adult failure to thrive” and “debility,” though these conditions lost their principal diagnosis status the next year in 2014.

With these conditions and others dropping in and out of use, the hospice principal diagnoses list has changed significantly in recent years. According to AAPC, the following 20 conditions were the most common as of 2017. These conditions, their corresponding ICD-10 codes, and the percentage of total hospice principal diagnoses that they comprise are all listed below.

Rank

ICD-10 Principal Diagnosis

Percentage

1

G30.9 Alzheimer’s disease, unspecified

10

2

J44.9 Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

5

3

I50.9 Heart failure, unspecified

4

4

G31.1 Senile degeneration of brain, not elsewhere classified

4

5

C34.90 Malignant neoplasm of unspecified part of unspecified bronchus or lung

3

6

G20 Parkinson’s disease

3

7

G30.1 Alzheimer’s disease with late onset

2

8

I25.10 Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary art without angina pectoris

2

9

J44.1 Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with (acute) exacerbation

2

10

I67.2 Cerebral atherosclerosis

2

11

C61 Malignant neoplasm of prostate

2

12

I63.9 Cerebral infarction, unspecified

1

13

N18.6 End stage renal disease

1

14

C18.9 Malignant neoplasm of colon, unspecified

1

15

C25.9 Malignant neoplasm of pancreas, unspecified

1

16

I1.9 Heart disease, unspecified

1

17

I11.0 Hypertensive heart disease with heart failure

1

18

I67.9 Cerebrovascular disease, unspecified

1

19

I13.0 Hypertensive heart and chronic kidney disease with heart failure and stage 1 through stage 4 chronic kidney disease, or unspecified chronic kidney disease

1

20

A41.9 Sepsis, unspecified organism

1

If you code hospice patients, be sure to review these hospice principal diagnoses and commit them to memory, as they will almost certainly be the most common codes you use.