Comparing chronic condition rates using ICD-9 and ICD-10 in VA patients FY2014-2016

BMC Health Serv Res. 2017 Aug 17;17(1):572. doi: 10.1186/s12913-017-2504-9.


Background: Management of patients with chronic conditions relies on accurate measurement. It is unknown how transition to the ICD-10 coding system affected reporting of chronic condition rates over time. We measured chronic condition rates 2 years before and 1 year after the transition to ICD-10 to examine changes in prevalence rates and potential measurement issues in the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system.

Methods: We developed definitions for 34 chronic conditions using ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes and compared the prevalence rates of these conditions from FY2014 to 2016 in a 20% random sample (1.0 million) of all VA patients. In each year we estimated the total number of patients diagnosed with the conditions. We regressed each condition on an indicator of ICD-10 (versus ICD-9) measurement to obtain the odds ratio associated with ICD-10.

Results: Condition prevalence estimates were similar for most conditions before and after ICD-10 transition. We found significant changes in a few exceptions. Alzheimer's disease and spinal cord injury had more than twice the odds of being measured with ICD-10 compared to ICD-9. HIV/AIDS had one-third the odds, and arthritis had half the odds of being measured with ICD-10. Alcohol dependence and tobacco/nicotine dependence had half the odds of being measured in ICD-10.

Conclusion: Many chronic condition rates were consistent from FY14-16, and there did not appear to be widespread undercoding of conditions after ICD-10 transition. It is unknown whether increased sensitivity or undercoding led to decreases in mental health conditions.

Keywords: Chronic disease; Diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / classification
  • Alzheimer Disease / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / classification
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease / classification*
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Clinical Coding*
  • HIV Infections / classification
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases*
  • Mental Disorders / classification
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / classification
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans*