Coding for coronavirus: 6 things to know

As the U.S. responds to a growing threat of the 2019 novel coronavirus, CMS and other organizations are clarifying how to code for testing and treatment of the disease.

Six things to know:

1. CMS created a new Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System code for providers and labs testing patients for SARS-CoV-2, or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2.

2. Providers can use the HCPCS code U0001 to test patients for coronavirus using the CDC's 2019 novel coronavirus real-time RT-PCR Diagnostic Test Panel.

3. Medicare's claims processing system will start accepting the code April 1 for dates of services Feb. 4 onward.

4. Audrey Howard, senior outsource services consultant with 3M Health Information Systems, reviewed in a blog post the current ICD-10-CM codes providers could use to code for the virus.

5. For classifying coronavirus not associated with SARS, providers could use: 

  • Pneumonia due to coronavirus: J12.89 and B97.29
  • Sepsis due to coronavirus: A41.89 and B97.29
  • Other infection caused by coronavirus: B34.2 
  • Contact with and (suspected) exposure to other viral communicable diseases: Z20.828 

6. For classifying the SARS-associated coronavirus, providers could use: 

  • Pneumonia due to SARS-associated coronavirus: J12.81 
  • Sepsis due to SARS-associated coronavirus: A41.89 and B97.21 

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