Coding Tip: Coding Diabetes Mellitus with Assumed Conditions

This Coding Tip was updated on 07/06/22
Diabetes continues to be a challenge for coders since the new instruction/guideline was released in AHA Coding Clinic® for ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS, First Quarter 2016.  This is effective with March 18, 2016 discharges.


ICD-10-CM does assume the link between diabetes and multiple common conditions.  In the past, these were not assumed and only coded as related to diabetes when clearly documented or queried by the coder for further clarification.

In the index of ICD-10-CM you will see several assumed conditions.  Please continue to familiarize yourself with these so when you are coding the records you will know they are assumed conditions.

Here’s a list of the associated diabetic conditions where the link is assumed in ICD-10-CM:

  • amyotrophy
  • arthropathy NEC
  • autonomic (poly) neuropathy
  • cataract
  • Charcot’s joints
  • chronic kidney disease
  • circulatory complication NEC
  • coma due to hyperosmolarity, hypoglycemia, ketoacidosis
  • complication specified NEC
  • dermatitis
  • foot ulcer
  • gangrene
  • gastroparalysis
  • gastroparesis
  • glomerulonephrosis, intracapillary
  • glomerulosclerosis, intercapillary
  • hyperglycemia
  • hyperosmolarity with coma
  • hypoglycemia with coma
  • ketoacidosis with coma
  • kidney complications NEC
  • Kimmelsteil-Wilson disease
  • loss of protective sensation(LOPS) – see Diabetes, by type, with neuropathy
  • mononeuropathy
  • myasthenia
  • necrobiosis lipoidica
  • nephropathy
  • neuralgia
  • neurologic complication NEC
  • neuropathic arthropathy
  • neuropathy
  • ophthalmic complication NEC
  • oral complication NEC
  • osteomyelitis
  • periodontal disease
  • peripheral angiopathy with gangrene
  • polyneuropathy
  • renal complication NEC
  • renal tubular degeneration
  • retinopathy with macular edema or resolved following treatment
  • retinopathy nonproliferative with macular edema (mild, moderate, or severe)
  • retinopathy proliferative with combined traction retinal detachment and rhegmatogenous retinal detachment, macular edema, stable proliferative diabetic retinopathy, traction retinal detachment involving the macula, and traction retinal detachment not involving the macula
  • skin complication NEC
  • skin ulcer NEC

If the MD documents another etiology for the condition DO NOT code to a diabetic complication or assume the link with diabetes.

If unsure about a specific condition being due to or “with” diabetes, coders can look the condition up in the ICD-10-CM Index. All the above associated diabetic conditions will have an entry for “diabetic.” If you search those terms.

Example 1: Patient has documented diabetes as well as a diagnosis of amyotrophy. neuralgia. Under the term for diabetes, amyotrophy is listed under the “with” subterm. Now look under the main term amyotrophy and there is a subterm for diabetic.

Example 2: Patient has documented hypertension and diabetes. This would not be an assumed link using the term “with.” Hypertension is a circulatory issue but the entry for circulatory complication also includes NEC. This means that the condition is not elsewhere classified within ICD-10 which is not the case for hypertension.

Clarification of link of diabetes and osteomyelitis was published in the 4Q2016 AHA Coding Clinic.


AHA Coding Clinic for ICD-10/PCS, First Quarter 2021: Page 7
AHA Coding Clinic® for ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS, First Quarter 2016 Pages: 6-7
AHA Coding Clinic® for ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS, Fourth Quarter 2016
ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting FY 2019 Pages 12-13
AHA Coding Clinic for ICD-10-CM/PCS, Second Quarter 2018 Pages: 6-7
AHA Coding Clinic for ICD-10-CM/PCS, Fourth Quarter 2018 Pages: 100-101
AHA Coding Clinic for ICD-10-CM/PCS, Fourth Quarter 2016 Pages: 11-13 and 141-143
AHA Coding Clinic for ICD-10-CM/PCS, Second Quarter 2016 Pages: 36-37

The information contained in this coding advice is valid at the time of posting. Viewers are encouraged to research subsequent official guidance in the areas associated with the topic as they can change rapidly.

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