Claim about medical diagnostic codes lacks context

The claim: People not vaccinated against COVID-19 are given a medical diagnostic code

An article circulating online claims that there has been a “huge development” regarding people not vaccinated against COVID-19: They will now be assigned their own medical diagnostic code so that they can be “treated in the future. “.

“Un-Vaxed given their own” diagnostic code: “ICD code 10: Z28.20”, one reads in one November 15 title from the Hal Turner Radio Show, which previously promoted conspiracy theories and inaccurate claims about COVID-19.

Turner says the code will serve as a “flag” on medical records and be used to generate a list of people not vaccinated against COVID-19 for a reason that “is not to our benefit.”

A similar version of the claim, in which a video shows a woman saying the medical diagnostic code would be used to determine who will go to “education camps,” made its way to social media and was demystified by PolitiFact.

While it is true that unvaccinated people are given a medical diagnostic code, the article is misleading. The codes have been around for years, and they don’t just apply to people who refuse a COVID-19 injection.

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Turner did not return a request for comment.

What are ICD codes?

ICD-10 stands for International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, and it is an established and maintained diagnostic tool by the World Health Organization collect, analyze, interpret and compare health statistics in different countries, according to the agency.

Under WHO authorization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics maintains the ICD-10-CM (clinical modification) codes, and different versions of the code sets have been in use in the United States since 1979.

Through, the medical diagnostic code Z28.20, mentioned in the claim, reads “immunization not performed due to the patient’s decision for an unspecified reason”, while Z28.21 indicates the patient’s “refusal” of a vaccine. Both codes entered into force on October 1, 2015, and may apply to patients who refuse a number of vaccines, not just COVID-19 vaccines.

Purpose of diagnostic codes

There is no evidence that the codes are used to generate a list of people not vaccinated against COVID-19 for purposes such as sending them to “camps.”

The CDC says The ICD-10 codesets incorporate “higher clinical details and a higher level of specificity” to provide higher quality data, which allows effective monitoring of public health trends and quality of care issues. Codes are used by researchers, epidemiologists and public health scientists, among other health professionals

A January 2020 Report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health says that collecting this type of data can lead to an increase in the number of patients referred to support services and help identify population-level trends that “have implications. both on health and costs ”.

Although the codes referenced in the claim are not specifically related to COVID-19, the WHO has introduced new codes throughout the pandemic to document positive cases, conditions occurring after COVID-19 infections, and adverse vaccine reactions.

Medical codes associated with COVID-19 entered into force in the United States on January 1 and a New version was put in place on October 1 and will last until September 30, 2022, according to the CDC.

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Our note: Missing context

Based on our research, we are evaluating MISSING CONTEXT the claim that people not vaccinated against COVID-19 are given a medical diagnostic code, because without additional information this is misleading. The codes have been around since 2015, and they are assigned in relation to many vaccines, not just COVID-19. Healthcare workers use the codes to record diagnoses and procedures in hospitals.

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