Illustration COVID-19 virus and red blood cells.

Billing and Coding Guidelines Related to COVID-19

As Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread rapidly across the world, healthcare providers are implementing emergency plans and having to adapt to new challenges every day. 

One challenge that we may not consider is the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak has had on back-office operations. The healthcare revenue cycle is the foundation of a practice, and for smaller practices or organizations which have limited cash in hand to respond to COVID-19 demands, it can be even more overwhelming. However, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is helping healthcare providers to handle the medical billing and coding aspect of COVID-10 testing and treatment.

Keeping the billing office running during an outbreak is essential to keep hospitals and practices open for individuals requiring care. CMS has been diligent in helping providers handle the medical billing and coding aspects of COVID-19 testing and treatment and recently released two Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes that laboratories can use to bill for certain COVID-19 diagnostic tests.

The AMA also announced that a new Current Procedural Terminology ( CPT) CPT¬Æ code has been created that streamlines Novel Coronavirus testing offered by hospitals, health systems and laboratories in the United States. That code was effective as of March 13th, 2020 for use as the industry standard for reporting of COVID-19 tests across the nation’s health care system. You can review and download the CPT code descriptor and guidance fact sheet from the AMA. For official coding guidelines from the CDC on which ICD-10-CM codes to use related to the coding of healthcare encounters and deaths related to Coronavrius (COVID-19) please click HERE.

Healthcare workers are playing a critical role in the COVID-19 outbreak response and are the backbone of our country’s defenses to limit and contain the spread of disease.  Among the concerns of health and safety is the consideration of the impact COVID-19 will have on the healthcare revenue cycle and financial operations. It’s critical that providers and billers be cognizant of the updates to billing and coding for COVID-19 to ensure accurate reimbursement and collections in order to keep their doors open to provide patient care.

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