A new ICD-9-CM code for wandering by patients with developmental disabilities becomes effective on Oct. 1, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced.

The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, an advisory body within the Department of Health and Human Services, requested the code, V40.31-Wandering in Diseases Classified Elsewhere.

"This code is intended to capture information about individuals, with any condition classified in the ICD, who wander," according to a CDC explanation. "Wandering was deleted as a subcode under the Alzheimer's and dementia code and added as a condition to be noted in association with disorders classified elsewhere. The intention is to provide a way to document, understand and improve the situation for individuals who are at risk of injury or death due to dangerous wandering. Wandering should be coded if documented in the medical record by the provider (i.e., physician)."

The new code is not linked to a specific diagnosis, nor is part of the diagnosis codes for autism or intellectual disabilities, the CDC notes. More information is available here.


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