New Codes Ahead: What You Need to Know About the 2017 ICD-10 Update

After much deliberation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the new 2017 ICD-10-CM codes on June 24, 2016. According to Laurie Johnson, MS, RHIA, CPC-H, FAHIMA—the director of health information management (HIM) consulting services for Panacea Health Solutions, Inc. and author of this ICD10 Monitor article—there are “1,974 additions, 311 deletions, and 425 revisions,” resulting in a total of 71,486 codes. These codes will go into effect on October 1, 2016—and remain in effect through September 30, 2017. Here are the changes to the codes in Chapters 13, 19, and 20—the chapters that are most relevant to physical therapists:

Chapter 13: Diseases of the Musculoskeletal System and Connective Tissue

Johnson reported that CMS added: “bunion, bunionette, pain in joints of the hand, more specificity to temporomandibular joints, cervical disc disorders at specific levels, atypical femoral fractures, and periprosthetic fractures.”   

Chapter 19: Injuries, Poisoning, and Certain Other Consequences of External Causes

Apparently, CMS made a “significant number of additions [to] the specific fractures to bones of the skull”—as well as “various fracture types of the foot.” There also are “title revisions to complications involving prosthetic devices; new stenosis of cardiac stent codes, and additions to complication types, including breakdown, displacement, infection, erosion, exposure, pain, fibrosis, thrombosis, and leakage.”

Chapter 20: External Causes of Morbidity

According to Johnson, the CDC also updated several vehicular accident codes and “added contact with paper or sharp objects, overexertion, and…the choking game.” (We don’t even want to know what that last one entails—although it may be scarily self-evident.)


For the full list of ICD-10 changes, check out Johnson’s blog post in full here—or, refer to the CMS 2017 ICD-10-CM files here. While Johnson mentioned that the 2017 ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting and General Equivalence Mappings (GEMs) were conspicuously missing from the newly released documents because they were “still pending,” both documents are now available in CMS’s list of files.


Just like you prepared for the initial launch of ICD-10 back in 2015, it’s time to hit the books again. You’ll want to be sure everyone in your clinic fully understands how these changes impact your practice and processes before CMS’s year-long grace period comes to an end—and these new code changes go into effect—on October 1. If you’re using an EMR, you’ll also want to check with your software vendor to ensure your system will be updated with the new codes so you can receive accurate payment for your services.