Providers in the U.S. will have a specific ICD-10-CM diagnosis code for the COVID-19 virus beginning April 1.
During a March 18 meeting, the ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee announced that it would adopt the World Health Organization (WHO) code, U07.1 (COVID-19), effective April 1.
Previously, the panel had planned to implement the code beginning October 1 in the U.S. But the committee moved up the adoption date after the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic and President Trump declared the spread of the virus a national emergency, explained Donna Pickett, head of the diagnosis coding side of the ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee. She announced the April 1 implementation date during the March 18 committee meeting.
Prior to April 1, providers can continue to report based on previously published interim guidelines, which outlines, among other things, how to report illnesses caused by COVID-19.
Note that code U07.1 should be reported only for confirmed cases. Providers should continue to follow the interim guidelines for unconfirmed cases of suspected exposure or symptoms.
Code U07.1 is designed to be a primary code, and you are to code also pneumonia and all other manifestations, Pickett advised during the meeting.
Providers on the call noted that they are seeing testing only for severe cases and asked whether there are specific codes for exposure to COVID-19 or suspected cases of the virus that are symptomatic. Currently there are not, Pickett responded.
The ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee plans to update coding information about the code change on its website by March 20, 2020.
Editor’s note: This is an unfolding story. Stay tuned for additional coverage.