Definition of Medical Diagnosis Codes

Types of Codes

Medical codes are divided into categories such as Diseases of the Circulatory System, or Infections and Parasitic Diseases or Mental Disorders. Every type of illness is found under a certain category in the medical coding classification manual known as the ICD-9-CM (International Classification of Diseases - Clinical Modification).

Coding Categories

The ICD-9 Coding Manual is divided into 17 chapters. The manual also designates medical codes for factors that involve health status or define contact with health services, called V codes. In addition, the ICD-9 utilizes E codes, which define the external causes of injury and where they occured.

Procedure Codes

Procedure codes are also an important part of the medical code process, as it specifies the types of treatment or procedures that an individual might undergo in the course of treatment for injuries, illnesses or disease processes

Diagnostic and Therapeutic Procedures

The ICD-9 coding manual also offers a section to specify precise treatments and services rendered by health care professionals in outpatient care facilities and hospitals. Medical codes for doctor's office visits are provided by the CPT (Current Procedural Terminology), also used for such services as anesthesia, surgery, pathology and laboratory services.

Why Medical Codes are Important

Without a unified system of medical codes, billing and payment for services rendered would be nearly impossible, as every doctor or health care facility might use different terminology or standards for treatment. The ICD-9 provides thousands of universally accepted codes, designated in letters and numbers, for billing and payment purposes. Medical diagnosis codes are a method by which healthcare professionals request payment for services rendered in a multitude of medical and health care scenarios. All medical insurance claims submitted to insurance companies must be accompanied by a medical code for the condition, treatments, diagnosis and any procedures performed by a healthcare provider for the treatment of illness, injury or disease.