The answer is YES. Effective October 1, 2021, a new ICD-10 code became available for the diagnosis of Long COVID: U09.9, Post COVID-19 condition, unspecified. This code will now be used instead of the code B94.8 (sequelae of other specified infectious and parasitic disease), which had been used previously.
How should this code be used?
The code U09.9 can be used for a patient with lingering symptoms after a previous COVID-19 infection has resolved. There is no time limit in the guidelines for when this code can be used and “the residual effect may be present early-on or may arise months or years after the acute phase of a COVID-19 infection.” But the specific condition(s) related to COVID-19 (such as chronic respiratory failure (J96.1), loss of smell (R43.8), loss of taste (R43.8)) should be coded first, followed by the U09.9 code.
The guidelines also specifically state that code U09.9 should not be used for an active or current COVID-19 infection. Instead, the code U07.1, COVID-19, should be used for a confirmed diagnosis of acute COVID-19. For active infections, the guidelines state that aside from some exceptions, code U07.1 should be listed as the principal first diagnosis, followed by the associated manifestations as additional diagnoses. While U09.9 should not be assigned for active COVID-19 infections, this code can be used in conjunction with the code for an active COVID-19 infection (U07.1) in cases of re-infection where a patient has conditions associated with a previous COVID-19 infection and develops a new active COVID-19 infection.
Why is this important?
The U09.9 code is used to establish a link between a current condition(s) and a previous COVID-19 infection. Appropriate documentation and use of this new code will help researchers and public health professionals be able to better track and understand the impact of Long COVID.
Where can clinicians and payers find out more? The new Long COVID code (U09.9) is included in the ICD-10-CM Official Guidelines for Coding and Reporting for FY 2022 and can be found here.