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Understanding the ICD-10 Code for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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Learn about the ICD-10 code for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and how it is used in healthcare billing and coding. Find out about the different types of COPD and the latest guidelines for diagnosis and management.
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The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is a system used by healthcare providers to classify and code diseases and medical conditions. The ICD-10 is the 10th revision of this system and includes guidelines for the proper coding of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) was implemented in October 2015 and will remain in effect until October 2023. Under the ICD-10-CM (Clinical Modification) code, COPD is divided into two main categories: chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Each COPD diagnosis must be categorized according to the specific symptom or condition that is causing it.

Properly utilizing COPD codes can help healthcare providers (HCPs) with medical billing and coding, leading to accurate claim submission and reimbursement for their services. Therefore, it is important for HCPs to use these codes correctly when coding their medical services.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Defined

COPD is a progressive and debilitating airway disease that includes chronic obstructive bronchitis and chronic obstructive tracheobronchitis and is characterized by difficulty breathing due to airway obstruction. COPD can also include unspecified asthma.

Smoking is the most common cause of COPD, but exposure to pollutants or certain medical conditions can also lead to a COPD diagnosis. Furthermore, an injury to the lungs can lead to COPD in some cases. These can be physical injuries like those sustained in a car accident, or chemical injuries that occur due to inhaling toxic fumes or gas. Other possible causes include certain genetic factors, and having a weak immune system.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease ICD-10 Coding Guidelines

ICD-10-CM codes are a set of codes used in the ICD-10-CM coding system to classify and identify diseases, disorders, and other health conditions. These codes are used to record and report medical diagnoses, procedures, and other related information. Each ICD-10-CM code consists of a series of numbers and letters that represent a specific disease, condition, or procedure. The codes are organized into categories and sub-subcategories based on the type of diseases being coded.

The following are some specific codes for different medical classifications of COPD:

  • J20 – Acute bronchitis
  • J21 – Acute bronchiolitis
  • J22 – Unspecified acute lower respiratory infection
  • J40 – Bronchitis, not specified as acute or chronic
  • J41 – Simple and mucopurulent chronic bronchitis
  • J42 – Unspecified chronic bronchitis
  • J43 – Emphysema
  • J44 – Other chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • J44.0 – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with acute exacerbation
  • J44.1 – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with (acute) bronchitis
  •  J44.8 – Other specified COPD
  • J44.9 – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease unspecified

In addition to these codes, lung diseases caused due to external agents (J60-J70) are also included. The following are some examples of specific codes for these diseases:

  • J60 – Coal worker’s pneumoconiosis
  • J61 – Asbestosis
  • J62 – Pneumoconiosis due to other inorganic dusts
  • J63 – Pneumoconiosis due to other and unspecified dusts
  • J64 – Unspecified pneumoconiosis
  • J65 – Pulmonary emphysema and pulmonary bullae
  • J66 – Bronchiectasis, not elsewhere classified
  • J67 – Chronic bronchitis with (acute) exacerbation
  • J68 – Other acute lower respiratory infections
  • J69 – Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids
  • J70 – Other and unspecified respiratory diseases due to external agents

To properly code COPD, a provider must consider several factors:

  • Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (Z77.22)
  • History of tobacco use (Z87.891)
  • Tobacco use (Z72.0)
  • Tobacco dependence (code: F17.2)
  • Occupational exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (Z57.31)
  • Occupational exposure to dusts and fumes during work (code: z77.0)
  • Co-morbidities (additional codes may be necessary)

For Medicare claims related to COPD, you would use ICD-10 code J44.9. It is important to note that all these codes must be used in conjunction with each other for the claim to be accepted by your health center or Medicare provider.

It is also important to be aware of “Excludes 1” and “Excludes 2” notes, as well as any other notes that may be present in the ICD-10-CM codebook. These notes indicate conditions or procedures that are not to be coded together with the code in question. For example, the “Excludes 1” note under code J44.9 states that asthma (J45) should not be coded with COPD, as the two conditions are separate and distinct.

Using Remote Patient Monitoring in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

COPD treatment and management can be optimized by using more than just ICD 10 codes. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is a valuable tool that allows healthcare providers (HCPs) to closely track and assess the health of their COPD patients remotely, while allowing patients to remain safely at home. DrKumo RPM solution is highly secure and utilizes advanced technology to enable direct, secure and convenient communication between providers and patients. DrKumo solution allows for real-time monitoring and assessment of symptoms, enabling HCPs to take a more proactive approach to care.

By using Remote Patient Monitoring technology, HCPs can more closely monitor the symptoms and progress of their patients with COPD, leading to more personalized and effective treatment plans. With the ability to collect and analyze real-time data, HCPs can stay more current on their patients’ health, and intervene quickly if necessary. This level of proactive care is especially important for patients with COPD, as early intervention can help to prevent worsening of the condition and reduce the risk of hospitalization. Overall, DrKumo RPM solution offers a way for HCPs to provide high-quality care while also being mindful of broader concerns such as cost containment and resource allocation.


It is important for healthcare providers to have a thorough understanding of COPD codes to accurately document and report the diagnoses, treatments, and procedures related to COPD. The accurate and effective use of COPD codes can help ensure that medical billing and coding is accurate, which can lead to successful claim submission and reimbursement for the services provided. Accurate and correct coding can also help to ensure that the patient’s medical record is complete and up-to-date, which will be beneficial for both the patient and the healthcare provider.

To effectively treat patients with COPD, healthcare providers can contact DrKumo now for more information on their RPM solution.

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