The AHA’s Hospitals Against Violence initiative, with Catholic Health Initiatives and Massachusetts General Hospital’s Human Trafficking Initiative and Freedom Clinic, recently secured diagnostic codes that will allow health and medical professionals to identify victims of human trafficking they encounter when they seek health care. The 29 new ICD-10 codes, which will take effect in October, will help providers identify and assist victims of trafficking and coders translate that information into data that will provide greater insight into the problem. “Like victims of child abuse or elder abuse, victims of human trafficking are coming into emergency rooms and health care facilities on a daily basis – and we have to be ready,’’ said Colleen Scanlon, senior vice president and chief advocacy officer for Englewood, CO-based CHI. “… Having these codes will help clinicians adequately classify a diagnosis and plan appropriate treatment.” Wendy Macias Konstantopoulos, M.D., director of MGH’s Human Trafficking Initiative, said, “Hospitals can and must take a leadership role in identifying victims and raising awareness about the issue. These new codes will strengthen data collection on the health and social outcomes of human trafficking and inform the development of resources and services better equipped to respond to the profound trauma associated with this underreported, abhorrent crime.’’ Nelly Leon-Chisen, AHA’s director of coding and classification, stressed the importance for coders to receive education on the new codes, saying it is “crucially important for coding professionals to understand how to recognize and use these codes.” Additional guidance on documenting and coding human trafficking will be available on the HAV human trafficking website later this month.

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