Code and Bill for a COVID-19 Related Encounter

How does a pediatric practice order tests, enter diagnoses, code, and bill for visits related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Read below to learn about the SNOMED-CT and ICD-10 diagnoses and CPT codes available for COVID-19 related visits. PCC Support can help you customize your chart note protocols to add specific diagnoses to chart notes.

Quick Coding Guide: You can download a reference guide to the codes described in this article here: PCC’s COVID-19 Coding Guide. This topic is evolving rapidly. PCC will update the coding guide and this article as we learn more.

New Codes On Your System: In March, PCC updated your system to add vendor lab identifiers, SNOMED-CT descriptions, and the ICD-10 code to help with COVID-19 charting and billing. to make new codes and descriptions immediately available. Contact PCC Support if you have any questions.

Codes to Use for Encounters Prior to April 1st, 2020

What should you code for COVID-19 related encounters for services rendered on or before March 31st, 2020?

Use B97.29 Other coronavirus as the cause of diseases classified elsewhere secondary to manifestations of COVID-19, such as Pneumomia, Bronchitis, Lower Respiratory Infection, Respiratory Infection NOS, or Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. (CDC)

Code for Exposure to COVID-19 and Symptoms

How do you code for exposure to COVID-19? When you diagnose exposure or possible exposure to COVID-19, you could use:

  • Possible Exposure: Z03.818 Encounter for observation for suspected exposure to other biological agents ruled out
    • SNOMED-CT Mapping Consideration: Exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus
  • Actual Exposure: Z20.828 Contact with and (suspected) exposure to other viral communicable diseases
    • SNOMED-CT Mapping Consideration: Exposure to 2019 novel coronavirus

You might use other diagnoses for common signs and symptoms:

  • R05 Cough
  • R06.02 Shortness of breath
  • R50.9 Fever, unspecified

You can add any of these diagnoses directly to your chart note protocol to make them easier to select.

On a chart note in PCC EHR, when you select a SNOMED-CT diagnosis description, it can automatically select and display one or more ICD-10 billing codes.

You can use the Billing Configuration tool to map SNOMED-CT descriptions to the appropriate ICD-10 codes.

Order and Code for COVID-19 Lab Tests

During the visit, you may decide to order a COVID-19 test. When you create an order for a COVID-19 test, your practice will typically collect the specimen and relay the test to a lab vendor for processing.

In PCC EHR, when you click “Order” next to a lab, the appropriate LOINC will be part of the order. You can configure lab orders so results can be sent back to your practice electronically, if your lab vendor supports e-lab integration.

Labcorp and Quest have provided the following vendor-specific identifiers, which PCC added to all practice systems:

  • Labcorp COVID-19 Test: 139900
  • Quest SARS-CoV-2 RNA, Qual Real-Time Test: 39433

PCC is creating a guide on how to configure your lab test orders for COVID-19. In the meantime, you can learn more by reading Lab Configuration.

When you gather the specimen for a COVID-19 test, you can bill:

  • 99000: Specimen Collection

Depending on your lab configuration, you may see the lab provider’s CPT for the COVID-19 test:

  • 87635: Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]), amplified probe technique
  • A pediatric practice would not typically bill the 87635 code, as it is performed by the lab. This may change.

    In PCC EHR, you can map the 99000 Specimen Collection procedure directly to the lab order so the specimen collection CPT will appear on your electronic encounter form automatically.

    Code and Bill a COVID-19 Diagnosis

    During an in-person or telemedicine visit for a patient with a COVID-19 diagnosis, you would code both the COVID-19 diagnosis and related conditions.

    When you indicate a COVID-19 diagnosis with a SNOMED description, use:

    • 840539006 Disease caused by 2019-nCoV: This diagnosis has alternate, searchable names of “Disease caused by 2019 novel coronavirus” and “Disease caused by Wuhan coronavirus”.

    In PCC EHR, you can select this diagnosis on a chart note and/or add it to a patient’s Problem List.

    Starting on April 1st, 2020, when you bill for a visit with a patient with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, use:

    • U07.1 COVID-19

    This code was added to all PCC systems with a 2020-03-23 update. By default in PCC EHR, when you select the SNOMED COVID-19 description, the ICD-10 COVID-19 code will appear:

    For services rendered prior to the April 1st effective date of U07.1 COVID-19, the CDC recommends you chart and code for the conditions of Pneumonia, Bronchitis, Lower Respiratory Infection, Respiratory Infection NOS, and ARDS, and then adding B97.29 Other coronavirus as the cause of diseases classified elsewhere. Before the specific COVID-19 ICD-10 diagnosis code is in effect, use the less specific B97.29 secondary to the manifestation code to indicate the patient has COVID-19.

    Details May Change: The above scenarios and COVID-19 codes are new and payer response may vary. PCC keeps an up-to-date handout with COVID-19 coding and billing recommendations here: 2020 COVID-19 Coding Guide. We will update that PDF and this article as the situation changes and we learn more.

    Use Other Procedure CPTs for COVID-19 Related Visits

    In addition to the codes mentioned above, here are some other CPT codes you might use in relation to a COVID-19 related encounter.

    Code for Telemedicine, Phone Calls, Portal, Email and Other Remote Services: What CPT visit code should your practice use for a video telemedicine encounter, a telephone call, a portal message consultation, or other remote service? PCC is maintaining a COVID-19 Coding Guide with descriptions of appropriate codes for different circumstances. You can also read PCC’s Schedule, Chart, Code, and Bill for Telemedicine Encounters.

    Bill for COVID-19 Risk Counseling

    Your practice may talk with a patient or parent at length about COVID-19 risk. You could use:

    • 99401: Preventive medicine counseling and/or risk factor reduction intervention(s) provided to an individual (separate procedure) approximately 15 minutes
    • 99402: …approximately 30 minutes
    • 99403: …approximately 45 minutes
    • 99404: …approximately 60 minutes

    You may use these codes for COVID-19 risk reduction and prevention counseling. You can add these codes onto a claim with other office visit codes, or they can stand alone.

    Are These Codes Okay for Telemedicine?: Although these codes do not appear in Appendix P of the CPT manual, which lists telehealth or telemedicine codes, many states are currently mandating that all services, including the 99401-99403 codes, be billable in a telemedicine encounter.

    Add-On CPTs for Urgent and Unusual Circumstances

    If an emergency appointment disrupts your office’s schedule, such as the sudden arrival of a patient with Acute Respiratory Distress, you can use this additional code on the claim:

    • 99058: Service(s) provided on an emergency basis in the office, which disrupts other scheduled office services, in addition to basic service

    If you have to leave the office for an emergency visit that disrupts your schedule:

    • 99060: Service(s) provided on an emergency basis, out of the office, which disrupts other scheduled office services, in addition to basic service

    If you leave the office for an encounter at the request of the patient or family, you might add:

    • 99056: Service(s) typically provided in the office, provided out of the office at request of patient, in addition to basic service

    We're Seeing Kids in the Parking Lot. Is That a 99056?: If the patient or family makes a special request for you to come out to the parking lot to perform a visit, you may add this code. If your practice sees patients in your parking lot as your general office policy during the COVID-19 epidemic, this code may not apply.

    • Last modified: April 9, 2020