Effective October 01, 2016, the code M62.84 will be used by the healthcare community for sarcopenia, thus recognizing it as a distinctly reportable condition. The AIM (Aging in Motion Coalition) announced this ICD-10-C code, as established by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
What is Sarcopenia?
Defined as a combination of low muscle mass, coupled with weakness in older people; sarcopenia is the progressive loss of skeletal muscle that comes with aging. While most adults begin losing some amount of muscle mass after crossing the age of 30, there is an exponential loss of strength as the person gets older. Believed to play a major role in functional impairment and increased frailty, sarcopenia can cause problems with mobility due to decreased muscle strength, increase the chances of falls and resulting fractures, induce frailty hence reducing activity levels and bringing about a loss of independence due to impaired physical mobility.
Why is this code important for sarcopenia?
The recognition of sarcopenia as a distinctly reportable condition in the eyes of the international medical community removes a major barrier for its treatment and research. Doctors will now be able to improve their diagnosis of this condition; while there will be more recognition by other healthcare professionals of the disease. With more comprehensive data like EMRs, Death Certificates etc., regarding the disease, researchers will be able to establish universal guidelines for clinical diagnosis and treatment of sarcopenia. Opening the doors to further research, this code could lead to the acceleration of new therapies for the disease.
The Aging in Motion (AIM) Coalition
A diverse group representing providers, caregivers, patients, consumers, researchers, employers, aging Americans and the health care industry, the Aging in Motion Coalition works towards pressing for higher research and innovation to develop treatments in sarcopenia and other age related functional decline amongst the old. AIM Coalition was initiated by the Alliance for Aging Research and has been leading interactions with various stakeholders like regulators, clinicians and policy influencers to establish their goals. One of their primary founding goals was to realize an ICD-10-CM code for sarcopenia – which lead to their submission of a proposal to the CDC in 2014. Their efforts have resulted in the establishing of the ICD-10-CM code for this condition.