Update: U.S. Hospitals Preparing for Coronavirus

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Original story posted on: February 10, 2020

Coronavirus continues to dominate the news.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a developing story and ICD10monitor will continue to update you on the latest development on this global health crisis.

In the wake of the deadly coronavirus (nCoV), U.S. hospitals are preparing for an emergency response nationally by using the four “Ss” – supplies, staff, space, and system.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued advisories to assist with preparation. The advisories included information on infection control policies. 

Foreign travelers arriving in the U.S. are being screened by Customs and Border Patrol regarding their travel history while reviewing the passports.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) adds another layer by having medical personnel question travelers who have visited mainland China about possible exposure to the virus.  Anyone who may be at risk will undergo diagnostic testing.

The coronavirus story continues to dominate the news including the sad news that the physician who originally sounded the alert has become a victim of the disease.  Dr. Li Wenliang died Feb. 7 in the hospital that was treating him.  There are now 40,484 confirmed cases with 910 deaths across more than 24 countries. 2019 nCoV has now surpassed the SARS epidemic from 2003.   Here in the U.S. there are now 12 confirmed cases involving six states – Arizona, California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Washington, and Wisconsin.   The twelfth case was reported in Wisconsin.  

Carnival Cruise Line has been quarantined in Yokohama, Japan after eight Americans were diagnosed with the coronavirus virus with 41 new cases being reported.  Americans who were evacuated from China and placed in quarantine for two weeks have had four identified confirmed cases.   The U.S. is now planning more evacuations from China.

There is more news from the coding perspective. The World Health Organization (WHO) is contemplating a new code for this specific coronavirus.  Any development will be posted on the WHO website.     A proposal for a new code is expected to be discussed during the upcoming CMS Coordination and Maintenance Committee when the organization meets March 17 and 18.    At this writing, the materials have not been posted for the meeting. The CDC will ensure that any new code will be consistent with the WHO addition to ICD-10. The ICD-10-CM proposed code would become effective Oct. 1, 2020. 

When coding 2019 nCoV, the coder should assign the infection code, then assign B97.29 (which will identify the organism).    Code B34.2 is a viral infection.   This code should only be used for viral infections.   2019 nCoV is like the SAR virus, but not the same so code B97.21 would not be an appropriate code to use for this new virus. 

Programming Note:

Listen to Laurie Johnson report this story live today during Talk Ten Tuesday 10-10:30 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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