Let’s hope it doesn’t happen to your service, but it is inevitable that some providers will transport patients who are either confirmed to have Coronavirus or who may have symptoms of the disease. In the world of ambulance, ICD codes are the method we use to describe the patient’s need for ambulance. We use the patient’s condition, signs and symptoms to apply ICD codes to the claim.

On Thursday, February 27th, MLNCONNECTS published a link for Interim Coding Guidance for COVID-19. The Interim Coding Guidelines were effective February 20th.

This guidance will be beneficial to hospitals and physicians, however, there was a section that is applicable to our world. We code based on the patient’s signs and symptoms. Here is what the guidance noted on that topic:

Signs and symptoms

For patients presenting with any signs/symptoms (such as fever, etc.) and where a definitive diagnosis has not been established, assign the appropriate code(s) for each of the presenting signs and symptoms such as:

R05 Cough

R06.02 Shortness of breath

 • R50.9 Fever, unspecified”

For the patient confirmed to have COVID-19, here is additional guidance:

“For cases where there is an actual exposure to someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19, it would be appropriate to assign the code Z20.828, Contact with and (suspected) exposure to other viral communicable diseases.”

To all our clients and many friends, we wish you good luck and good health during these challenging times!

About the author:  Maggie Adams is the president of EMS Financial Services, with over 25 years’ experience as a business owner and reimbursement and compliance consultant. Known for a practical approach and winning presentation style, Maggie has worked with medical transportation providers and billing companies of all kinds to provide auditing services, assess their billing for best practices and support their billing and documentation training efforts. “Like” EMS Financial on Facebook, follow us on LinkedIn or for more info, contact Maggie directly at maggie@ems-financial.com or visit www.ems-financial.com


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