2021 ICD-10-CM updates: Looking ahead to October

June 5, 2020 / By Karla VonEschen, MS, CPC, CPMA

Just when you started to get comfortable with the 2020 ICD-10-CM changes, CMS has published their list of proposed diagnosis code updates for October. Is it really that time of year? Yes, it is! The topic of COVID-19 has dominated almost everything lately—including my blogs—so this nugget of information may have passed by a lot of people. This seems like a great opportunity to talk about changes that may be on the horizon. 

On May 11, CMS released information that proposed more than 550 ICD changes. Proposed changes include 490 code additions, 47 revisions, and 58 deleted codes that would go into effect October 1, 2020. Here is a look at some of the notable new, deleted and updated codes:


  • D57- sickle-cell disorders
  • D89- other disorders involving the immune mechanism- not elsewhere classified
  • F10- Alcohol abuse and use with withdrawal
  • F19- other psychoactive substance related disorders
  • H18- other disorders of cornea
  • M05- rheumatoid arthritis with rheumatoid factor
  • M06- other rheumatoid arthritis
  • M08- juvenile arthritis
  • M19- other and unspecified osteoarthritis
  • M92- Juvenile osteochondrosis
  • S20- superficial injury of thorax
  • T40- poisoning by- adverse effect of and underdosing of narcotics and psychodysleptics (hallucinogens)
  • V00-V06 for electric scooter and other micro-mobility pedestrian conveyance injuries


  • Z68- Body mass index (BMI)
  • Z88- Allergy status codes


  • T40- poisoning, underdosing, and adverse effects of other synthetic narcotics

With October 1 only four months away, this is a good time for organizations to get a jump on preparing for code changes:

  1. Review and become familiar with the proposed changes. A downloadable file of the changes can be accessed here: 2021 IPPS Proposed Rule
  2. Determine if any of the proposed deleted codes are a favorite in your EHR system and may need to be updated
  3. Identify any templates or other documents that will need to be updated at a later date once these changes are finalized
  4. Perform a preliminary CDI review for your physicians and determine where their documentation may need to change

Getting ahead and being prepared for these changes is key to not being overwhelmed this fall. Many organizations have seen a slowdown in code production based on current COVID-19 recommendations to table elective procedures. If your coders are looking for projects, why not use some of this time to perform an analysis and prepare for 2021 ICD-10-CM changes?

Karla VonEschen is a coding analyst at 3M Health Information Systems.

Visit the 3M HIS COVID-19 resource page.

During a pandemic, healthcare information is gathered, studied, and published rapidly by scientists, epidemiologists and public health experts without the usual processes of review. Our understanding is rapidly evolving and what we understand today will change over time. Definitive studies will be published long after the fact. 3M Inside Angle bloggers share our thoughts and expertise based on currently available information.