Q&A: Sequencing additional diagnosis codes

QUESTION: I work for a gastrointestinal (GI) practice and I have a question regarding the correct sequence for adding diagnosis codes to a claim.

I have advised our physicians and billers that the primary diagnosis code is always the reason for the visit. I am a little confused about the remaining diagnosis codes the physician will write down in no specific order. Billers will report codes in the order the physicians write down the diagnoses and not always the reason for the visit.   For example, a patient is referred for a consult due to weight loss. The patient comes for the consult and the physicians may put down 787.29 (other dysphagia), 401.1 (benign hypertension), 783.21 (abnormal loss of weight), 787.99 (change in bowel habits) in this order and leave it up to the person entering the info to figure it out. 
 
I would report 783.21 first since that was the reason for the visit but then I’ve been putting the GI codes next and then anything else last. 
 
What is the correct sequence when adding diagnosis codes to a claim?

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