Academy Supports New ICD-10-CM Codes for Food Insecurity

05/14/2019 - The Academy supports a sustained shift in health care delivery to prioritize population and preventive health care. Specific coding language for food insecurity would provide a much needed opportunity to integrate food security strategies into the broader health care movement to address social determinants of health. In a comment sent last week to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Academy voiced its support of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and the Yale School of Nursing's request for new ICD-10-CM codes related to food insecurity.

Helping individuals avoid food insecurity or addressing it earlier in its cycle would permit more cost-effective approaches to disease prevention and treatment given the association of food insecurity with an increased risk for malnutrition, poor health, and chronic disease.

Adding new ICD-10-CM codes that specifically relate to food insecurity would:

  • Facilitate the storage and retrieval of diagnostic information for clinical, epidemiological and quality purposes.
  • Support data collection and research to better understand the incidence, treatment and morbidity/mortality associated with food insecurity.
  • Aid in tracking progress toward meeting national health goals related to food security, such as Healthy People 2020.
  • Separate food insecurity and water insufficiency, which can occur simultaneously and independently and necessitate different interventions. Separating these two issues and creating a code solely for food insecurity establishes a more precise practice to identify, track and treat food insecurity.

The proposed revisions to the ICD-10-CM would support the screening and measurement of food security status in all settings, referral (and tracking of such referrals) to appropriate health care and community-based resources, communication of food insecurity information to stakeholders, and provision of appropriate nutrition care by RDNs.

The Academy views the approval of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont and the Yale School of Nursing's proposed new ICD-10-CM codes as an important and necessary step forward in understanding and addressing this key social determinant of health.