Hyperglycemia does not equal diabetes

Symptom coding can trip up many coders. These codes should be used in lieu of an official diagnosis, but sometimes we do the reverse: we could a specific diagnosis based on symptoms.

Don’t do that. You need an official diagnosis in order to code.

Consider your patient with hyperglycemia (790.2x) … that’s a symptom of diabetes. Perhaps the patient also has circulatory issues? All of the signs (or symptoms, more accurately!) indicate diabetes (Category 249 or Category 250) … except for the fact that nowhere in the patient records does it say that the patient is diabetic.

Query the doctor. Do not code the diabetes, or any other disease, based on symptoms.

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