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Transition from V-codes to Z-codes

January 31st, 2012

On October 1, 2014, ICD-10, a much more specific and detailed coding system, will be replacing the current ICD-9 coding system. Along with the addition of thousands of new codes, V-codes which currently describe the factors influencing health status and contact with health services will be transitioned into Z-codes. The transition from V-codes to Z-codes will not be that drastic of a change; however, the specificity difference will take necessary training. Z-codes are intended for classification of routine health check reasons as a replacement for ICD-9 V-codes and will be used to report occasions when circumstances other than a disease, injury or external cause classifiable to categories A00-Y89 are recorded as diagnoses o r problems. Z-codes offer more choices for coding classification which will cause fewer problems with claims because of the higher level of specificity within the codes. The higher level of detail within each Z-code will be helpful for the healthcare professionals as well as the insurance companies. ICD-10 and the Z-codes will hopefully help to get claims paid faster with fewer errors, fewer requests for medical records and fewer requests for chart reviews.

Example of ICD-10-CM Increased Specificity of V-codes to Z-codes

ICD-9-CM V-code

ICD-10-CM Z-code


V82.89 Special screening for other specified conditions

Z13.810 Encounter for screening for upper gastrointestinal disorder

Z13.811 Encounter for screening for lower gastrointestinal disorder

Z13.818 Encounter for screening for other digestive system disorder

Z13.828 Encounter for screening for other musculoskeletal disorder

Z13.84 Encounter for screening for dental disorders

Z13.89 Encounter for screening for other disorder

Note: ICD-10-CM has a greater amount of codes all with a higher level of specificity than ICD-9-CM, therefore in most cases; one ICD-9-CM code is mapped to numerous ICD-10-CM codes. ICD-9-CM V-codes may not always map directly to an ICD-10-CM Z-code. The ICD-10-CM equivalent could be a code within any classification. Also, there are some ICD-9-CM codes which do not have an equivalent ICD-10-CM diagnosis code.

Along with the transition of V-codes to Z-codes, ICD-10 will offer many new changes for which preparation and training is necessary. Some of the new qualities of ICD-10 include:

  • 21 chapters instead of ICD-9's 17 chapters
  • All codes will change reflecting a more specific diagnoses
  • E-codes, "Supplemental Classification of External Causes of Injury and Poisoning" will be expanded into T-codes, V-codes, W-codes, X-codes and Y-codes. The new classification in ICD-10 will be broader category "External Causes of Morbidity" allowing for more codes.