Clinical coding practice using ICD-10-AM/ACHI is governed by the application of the Australian Coding Standards (ACS), New Zealand Conventions (NZC) and National Minimum Dataset (NMDS) reporting requirements.
Adherence to these standards promotes coding consistency, which in turn results in the recording of quality NMDS data that are comparable at a national and international level.
Local rulings – that is, coding rules developed at a local (DHB) level which contravenes the ACS, NZC and NMDS reporting requirements – are not permitted.
Clinical coders who do not adhere to the Australian Coding Standards, New Zealand Conventions and NMDS reporting requirements risk producing erroneous information and changing the epidemiological profile of our patient population. Therefore no clinical coding units should have ‘local coding rules’.
If you are applying and reporting ‘local coding rules’ which are not in accordance with the current Eighth Edition ACS, NZC and NMDS reporting requirements you are not complying with the Operational Policy Framework (OPF) and are potentially corrupting the quality of NMDS data for analysis, planning and funding. (The Operational Policy Framework is a set of business rules as well as policy and guideline principles that outline the operating functions of DHBs as agreed with the Minister of Health).
Should there be a requirement for information to be captured at a local hospital level it is recommended that other methods be used to collect this information; it must not be reported to the NMDS.