Coding

Medical coding is the process of assigning numeric or alphanumeric codes to the diseases, injuries, treatments, and procedures that healthcare providers perform to record each encounter accurately and correctly bill the patient (Healthcare Business & Technology, 2019). Medical coding directly ties into medical billing, which includes “preparing billing claims and submitting them to insurance providers,” as noted in our previous article, “What Is Medical Coding and Billing? How Does It Streamline a Hospital’s Financial Performance?” Ensuring the encounter was coded correctly with the right terminology is essential for correct payment and an accurate patient medical history.

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The United States will begin using code U07.1 COVID-19 as of April 1 – rather than the usual effective date for new codes of October 1. This new code is being fast-tracked to allow for the urgent need of immediate data collection. Interim coding guidelines from the CDC are still to be used between now and the effective date (CDC, 2020). Review our previous article, “Coding for Coronavirus Outbreak: Interim Guidance from the CDC,” for additional information about code U07.1.

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With the number of COVID-19 (2019-Novel Coronavirus) cases expected to rise in North America, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has provided information on how to medically code and bill all encounters related to COVID-19 for Medicare beneficiaries (CMS, 2020).

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