Patients reporting to a practice or facility when they are sick is nothing unusual, but there is a somewhat less common reason that drives people to see their doctors. Screenings allow providers to test a patient for certain diseases or abnormalities while the patient is still healthy. In contrast to typical doctor visits, these encounters take place as a means of identifying a problem before the patient even begins exhibiting negative symptoms.
These diagnostic visits are reported with the select ICD-10-CM screening codes outlined below:
- Z11: Encounter for screening for infectious and parasitic diseases
- Z12: Encounter for screening for malignant neoplasms
- Z13: Encounter for screening for other diseases and disorders
- Z36: Encounter for antenatal screening of mother
Each of these categories then contains several branches that divide these screening codes into more specific categories. For example, Z12 includes the more specific Z12.73 (Encounter for screening for malignant neoplasm of ovary).
In order for these screening codes to apply, the patient must not yet show any symptoms of the condition that the screening is meant to identify. Once the screening is performed, the coder must report both the proper ICD-10 Z code and the proper procedure code to indicate that the procedure was in fact carried out. Keep in mind, however, that screening codes are not required for screenings that are already part of routine procedures or check-ups, such as a routine Pap smear. If a disease or other complication is detected by the screening, be sure to include the proper diagnostic code for that as well.
Finally, remember that Z codes encompass much more that just screenings. The entire Z category, Chapter 21 of ICD-10-CM, is entitled Factors Influencing Health Status and Contact with Health Services, meaning that it also contains numerous codes for birth status, organ donation, vaccinations, and much more.