It is critical in this world to stay on top of developments. The World Health Organization has created an ICD-10 code, U09.9. naming it, ‘Post COVID-19 condition, unspecified,’ Their instructional note says, “this optional code serves to allow the establishment of a link with COVID-19. This code is not to be used in cases that still are presenting COVID-19.”

There will be an instruction to “Code first the specific condition related to COVID-19, if known, such as: chronic respiratory failure, J96.1-, loss of smell and taste, R43.8.” The expected implementation date is October 1, 2021.

A recent (March 10, 2021 ICD-10) Coordination and Maintenance Committee Meeting at the CDC included discussion of this code:

Question: "Can we get clarification on terminology of sequelae, residual, h/of, post COVID. Even with this, physicians don't speak-coding, so this is another issue to address. Ex. History of recent COVID (couple of weeks) now here with chronic respiratory failure but no active infection despite positive COVID test this admission."

Answer: If there is description of a sequela of COVID-19, a residual condition following COVID-19, or a post COVID-19 condition, then the new proposed code would be used. If there is a history of COVID-19, without a current related condition, then it would be appropriate to assign the code Z86.16, Personal history of COVID-19. If there is a current infection or recurrent infection with COVID-19, then it would be appropriate to assign the code U07.1, COVID-19. If there is a lack of clarity in the clinical record, then it would be appropriate to query the provider.

The upcoming codes for Post-Covid19 conditions will require yet more physician education, and creation of new queries. We do not know what the significance this code will have for DRG assignment, as of yet, but will study the issue as soon as the code works with an encoder.

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