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Coding Alert – March 2020

The New Coronavirus

CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) has created two new Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes to use for testing of the new coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • U0001 is used specifically for CDC testing laboratories to test patients for SARS-CoV-2             
  • U0002 allows laboratories to bill for non-CDC laboratory tests for SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV (COVID-19)
                                                                                                  

Using these codes will help the CDC track and respond to the changing landscape. These codes should be used for dates of service after February 4, 2020 and will be accepted on claims submitted to Medicare on April 1, 2020. Quartz will be following Medicare guidelines regarding the submission of claims.

Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established a new International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) emergency code:

  • U07.1, 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease

There will be an updated code and guidelines with the October 2020 ICD-10 release. Diagnosis code B34.2, Coronavirus infection, unspecified should not be used to report COVID-19.

If a patient presents with symptoms and exposure to coronavirus has been ruled out, Z03.818 (Encounter for observation for suspected exposure to other biological agents ruled out) is appropriate. In cases with known exposure, use Z20.828 (Contact with and (suspected) exposure to other viral communicable diseases). Symptoms should be coded as they would normally be reported.

The CDC has more information regarding diagnosis coding for COVID-19. Please consult their website for guidance and watch for changes that may be released at a later date.

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