Friday, November 18, 2022

New Diagnostic Codes for ME/CFS and Long-COVID Now Active!

I thought I already wrote about this exciting advance for patients of ME/CFS and long-COVID, but I can't find it among my blog posts. Well, it's been a rough few months--it's entirely possible I never got to it! So, here's the big news:

Effective October 1, updates to the ICD-10-CM, the U.S. version of the International Classification of Diseases, will include ME/CFS--using both terms, myalgic encephalomyelitis and chronic fatigue syndrome--and also long-COVID.

ICD codes are the diagnostic codes that doctors must use each time they consult with a patient--insurance companies require them. In the past, doctors had to fit us ME/CFS patients in wherever they could. Often that meant using "chronic fatigue--unspecified," which of course was not accurate. Old ICD codes also referred to myalgic encephalomyelitis as "benign'!

These diagnostic codes that doctors assign are recorded and tabulated, and knowing how many patients suffer from a particular disease can affect funding, allocation of resources, and attention from the NIH and other bodies. No wonder ME/CFS has never gotten any significant government funding.

You can read a summary of the new codes and the changes made here (put together by #MEAction).

I printed a copy of that summary and gave it to each of my doctors, asking them to share with all their staff and to use the new code (G93.32) for my son and I and any other ME/CFS patients and pointing out the new long-COVID codes (either G93.3 or U09.9).

This is an important and exciting step forward for all ME/CFS and long-COVID patients. Many of us have waited decades for this!

So help to spread the word!

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