Treating COVID-19

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Original story posted on: November 2, 2020

The ICD-10-PCS codes can be found in the XW0 Table for the drug infusions.

There were new ICD-10-PCS codes implemented on Aug. 1, involving substances associated with the treatment of COVID-19. As we know, these codes are not to be assigned unless the substances were used to treat coronavirus. Here is some information regarding these medications/biologicals, to assist in code assignment.

Tocilizumab, also known as its brand name, Actemra, is a drug known to treat severe rheumatoid arthritis. It blocks the inflammatory protein IL-6. Based on a clinical study in Italy, it might reduce the risk of invasive mechanical ventilation or death associated with severe COVID-19-related pneumonia.

Remdesivir, an anti-infective also known by its brand name, VEKLURY, is a broad-spectrum antiviral medication. This medication is also known as GS-5734, and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the New England Journal of Medicine, remdesivir is superior to a placebo in shortening recovery time of patients with COVID-19 and evidence of lower respiratory tract infection.

Sarilumab is a monoclonal antibody that is used to treat moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis; its brand name is Kevzara. It has been used as an experimental protocol for treating COVID-19. In fact, Sanofi and Regeneron have announced that one clinical trial using sarilumab has been stopped.

The last substance that was added is convalescent plasma. This is the liquid portion of the blood (plasma) that is collected from patients who have recovered from COVID-19. This substance is transfused into infected patients. This treatment has been used for SARS, H1N1, avian influenza, MERS, and Ebola. Convalescent plasma builds antibodies in the sick patient. The jury is still out regarding its effectiveness on COVID-19.

The ICD-10-PCS codes can be found in the XW0 Table for the drug infusions. The XW1 Table contains the transfusion of convalescent plasma. If you are participating in clinical trials, do not forget to add Z00.6 as a diagnosis code; it is an indicator for a clinical trial.

I am looking forward to the day when we no longer must talk about the treatment and coding of COVID-19!   

Programming Note: Laurie Johnson is a permanent panelist on Talk Ten Tuesdays. Listen to her live reporting on ICD-10 codes every Tuesday at 10 a.m. EST.

Laurie M. Johnson, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA AHIMA Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer

Laurie M. Johnson, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA, AHIMA Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer is currently a senior healthcare consultant for Revenue Cycle Solutions, based in Pittsburgh, Pa. Laurie is an American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) approved ICD-10-CM/PCS trainer. She has more than 35 years of experience in health information management and specializes in coding and related functions. She has been a featured speaker in over 40 conferences. Laurie is a member of the ICD10monitor editorial board and makes frequent appearances on Talk Ten Tuesdays.

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