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For the Week of November 24, 2014


Why do the General Equivalency Mappings (GEMs) go in both directions (from ICD-9 to ICD-10) and back again?


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) answers this question (FAQ2581) as follows.

The GEMs are designed to be used like a bi-directional translation dictionary. They go in both directions so that you can look up a code to find out what it means according to the concepts and structure used by the other coding system, similar to how Spanish-English and English-Spanish dictionaries are designed. Neither the two dictionaries nor the GEMs are a mirror image of each other. The translation alternatives are based on the meaning of the code you are looking up (which includes index entries, tabular instruction, and applicable Coding Clinic advice).


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