July 23, 2007
Coding for Learning Disabilities
Learning disabilities are defined as “inabilities to acquire, retain, or broadly use specific skills or information, resulting from deficiencies in attention, memory, or reasoning and affecting academic performance.”1 Children with learning disabilities have trouble coordinating vision with movement and may be delayed in learning to read and write. In addition, they may have difficulty with communicating and controlling impulses. Other common symptoms include a short attention span, being easily distracted, a short memory span, hyperactivity, and being withdrawn, shy, or aggressive.
The ICD-9-CM code assignment for learning disability not further specified is 315.2.
Although dyslexia cannot be cured, it is treated with multisensory teaching methods. Developmental dyslexia is classified to code 315.02 and dyslexia secondary to organic lesion to code 784.61. Code 784.61 is also assigned for unspecified dyslexia.
People with dyscalculia have normal or accelerated verbal, reading, and writing skills with good visual memory of printed words.
1. Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes
2. Often has difficulty sustaining attention
3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
4. Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish duties
5. Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
6. Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort
7. Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities
8. Often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
9. Often forgetful in daily activities
1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
2. Difficulty with remaining seated when required
3. Often runs about or climbs excessively in inappropriate situations
4. Often has difficulty playing or engaging in quiet leisure activities
5. Often “on the go”
6. Talks excessively
7. Blurts out answers before questions have been completed
8. Difficulty in waiting for turn in games or group situations
9. Often interrupts or intrudes on others
ADD/ADHD may be treated with a combination of behavior therapy and psychostimulant drugs. ADD is classified to code 314.00 and ADHD to code 314.01.
Coding and sequencing for learning disabilities are dependent on the physician documentation in the medical record and application of the Official Coding Guidelines for inpatient care. Also, use specific AHA Coding Clinic for ICD-9-CM and American Medical Association CPT Assistant references to ensure complete and accurate coding.
— This information was prepared by Audrey Howard, RHIA, of 3M Consulting Services. 3M Consulting Services is a business of 3M Health Information Systems, a supplier of coding and classification systems to nearly 5,000 healthcare providers. The company and its representatives do not assume any responsibility for reimbursement decisions or claims denials made by providers or payers as the result of the misuse of this coding information. More information about 3M Health Information Systems is available at www.3mhis.com or by calling 800-367-2447.