Correct Coding of SARS-CoV-2 is essential to pandemic response

Effective April 1st, 2020, the 2020 ICD 10 CM, in an unusual off-schedule modification, published guidelines for appropriate coding of COVID-19 infections using the U07.1 code.  This code is effective for discharges and dates of service after April 1st, 2020.

Replacing code B97.29, Other coronavirus, the appropriate use and sequencing of U07.1 in hospital inpatient coding is essential to reducing denials and assuring correct reimbursement for the high cost of delivery of care to the unfortunate individuals who are afflicted with COVID-19, let alone the epidemiological importance for disease tracking.

For optimal results, hospitals need to develop robust processes for monitoring laboratory testing, clinical presentations, documentation, and coding coordinating the departments to assure the right code in the right sequence ends up on the uniform billing form.

With screening tests being performed prior to procedures, SNF placement, and the like, concurrent review by Clinical Documentation Integrity Specialists is of utmost importance.  Further down the Revenue Cycle is coding and DRG Validation where a final review of the documentation, testing, and clinical presentation can assure your hospital gets reimbursed appropriately for the care you deliver.