Jeff Stark, MD: The Process of nr-ax-SpA Indexed to ICD-10


Jeff Stark, MD, discusses why nr-ax-SpA wasn't indexed and the process of having it included as an ICD-10 code.

With its recent addition to the ICD-10 coding manual, non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis (nr-ax-SpA) can now be diagnosed more accurately by healthcare providers.

The coding manual only undergoes periodic updates that are widely spaced, Jeff Stark, MD, Head of US Immunology at UCB, said in a recent interview with HCPLive®. ICD-11 was already developed and released and in that manual, nr-ax-SpA is recognized there.

The implementation date of ICD-11 has not yet been set in the US, though.

To get a disease state indexed to an ICD code, the ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance committee steps in. The committee meets twice a year to entertain potential changes to the diagnostic and procedural coding manual. Applications are received at committee meetings in March and September every year.

“I will say that the committee has a very high standard for what they will consider in terms of potential modifications to the coding manual, and those applications really have to meet a very high bar of clinical accuracy and unmet need to justify a modification of the manual,” Stark said in the interview.

The process may be lengthy, he added, but it is necessary to understand why the changes need to be made and the value that an update to the manual can bring.

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