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On February 20, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published supplemental ICD-10-CM diagnosis coding guidelines related to the Coronavirus outbreak to help in the tracking. Below is a summary of these guidelines, with the link to the full document. We hope this will be a helpful, quick reference guide when and if needed.

It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to provide accurate diagnoses via Diagnosis coding. Coding is not just used for reimbursement, but the data gathered is used worldwide and is vital for tracking the disease(s), outcomes, determining where resources should be focused, etc. It is one of the best real-time collection of data in times of a pandemic especially. The ICD-10-CM codes provided in this document are intended to provide information on the coding of encounters related to coronavirus. Other codes for conditions unrelated to coronavirus may be required to fully code these scenarios in accordance with the ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting.

The confirmed COVID-19 infections can cause a range of illness, from little to no symptoms, being severely ill and even dying. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath and usually appear from 2 to 14 days after exposure

General Guidance

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 sign and symptoms such as; R05 – Cough, R06.02 – Shortness of Breath, R50.9 – Fever, unspecified                                                                             

Notes: Coronavirus infection, unspecified - code B34.2, would generally NOT be appropriate for the COVID-19, because the cases have universally been respiratory, so the site would not be “unspecified.”

If the provider documents “suspected,” “possible,” “probable,” COVID-19, do NOT assign code B97.29.

For the complete ICD-10-CM Official Coding Guidelines - Supplement Coding encounters related to COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak Effective: February 20, 2020 It is intended to be used in conjunction with the current ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting (effective October 1, 2019) and will be updated to reflect new clinical information as it becomes available.

 Additional Resources:

  • Johns Hopkins University has created aninteractive web-based dashboard to visualize and track reported cases of the coronavirus in real time.
  • The Regenstrief Institute is creating a series ofLOINC codes to identify the lab tests used to screen patients for the virus. The team also created codes during the Zika and SARS outbreaks.
  • Bulletinfrom the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights regarding HIPAA compliance during the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • COVID-10 clinical presentation:
  • CDC updates:
  • AHIMA article and resources: