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  • Washington Highlights

    AAMC Submits Comments on Additional ICD-10 Codes for Social Determinants of Health

    Philip Alberti, Senior Director, Health Equity Research and Policy
    Phoebe Ramsey, Director, Physician Payment & Quality

    The AAMC May 9 submitted comments to the ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee in support of the joint proposal from UnitedHealthcare and the American Medical Association to expand existing ICD-10-CM codes to better capture additional data on the social determinants of health (SDOH) to drive better care, patient engagement, and more equitable outcomes.

    The AAMC supports efforts to eliminate inequities in health and health care and to improve quality, care coordination, and access to services for vulnerable populations. Accounting for SDOH in ways that isolate inequitable differences in measured quality can raise awareness and enable the development of interventions that reduce health care inequities and improve quality and efficiency. The additional codes could also improve accuracy in reporting, estimating costs in capitation models, and compensating providers fairly.

    Additionally, the proposal to expand ICD-10 Z-codes, labeled as “Persons with potential health hazards related to socioeconomics and psychosocial circumstances,” compliments other efforts that target coding to effect change on SDOH, like the Gravity Project led by the University of California, San Francisco, and the Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network (SIREN). The AAMC believes efforts like these will help engage providers, community partners, and researchers to identify ways to make the ICD-10 coding more granular, actionable, and meaningful in order to improve outcomes by identifying specific barriers to care.