How hospitals code superbugs has big impact on bottom line

The nuances of coding bacterial infections related to antibiotic-resistant superbugs can have a significant impact on hospital revenue streams, according to ICD10monitor.

A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control found hospital costs rose dramatically in cases where patients contracted different superbugs. Patients that contracted renal impairment increased treatment costs by an average of $8,942. Patients that contracted an immunocompromised status or concomitant antibiotic exposure increased treatment costs by $8,692 and $8,545, respectively.

Given the high cost of these cases and associated risk factors for contamination, ensuring correct identification, coding and nationwide tracking of superbug infections is critical, said ICD10monitor.

It is imperative hospital and physician coders stay up-to-date with changes to bacterial coding practices. Effective Oct. 1, codes for c. diff and MRSA changed to designate their status as hospital acquired infections. There are also ICD-10 codes for 22 different types of medication, including codes for resistance to medication, a condition that makes patient cases more difficult and costly to treat.

For more information on ICD-10 guidance updates from CMS, click here.

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