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Long Haul Covid Modifiers: What You Need to Know

September 7, 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic approaches its second year, medical practitioners are uncovering new repercussions stemming from the infection. It’s becoming clear to those in the medical community that symptoms of COVID can linger long after patients recover. Referred to as COVID “long-haulers,” these patients continue to suffer a broad range of peculiar symptoms related to the infection, including brain fog and memory loss.

Treating patients with obscure symptoms from COVID is difficult enough, but billing for them is a challenge in itself. Coding and documentation for COVID long-haulers can be tricky. Since these patients experience an array of different symptoms, sometimes months after their initial infection, determining the right coding and billing information for long-haulers is confusing and time-consuming.

All too often, facilities spend substantial time and countless resources applying the right medical codes for insurance claims and proper payment. Billing for COVID-19 is complicated, given the complex symptoms actively infectious patients face, but long-haulers present an entirely new challenge for the administrative side of your facility.

Coronis Health has more than 30 years of experience offering medical billing solutions. We have first-rate medical coders and billers to help your facility navigate COVID’s ever-changing consequences without losing revenue.

Image of An old man and a woman wearing masks are sitting in a waiting room, COVID-19 long-haulers.

What Is A COVID-19 Long-Hauler?

COVID-19 long-haulers are patients who continue to struggle with the effects of the infection long after recovering. The aftereffects of COVID are still a mystery to medical experts nearly two years after the first case was reported in the U.S. Though it remains unclear exactly why some patients experience long-term symptoms of COVID, while others don’t, one thing is certain: We’re all in this for the long haul.

COVID-19 Long-Hauler Symptoms

What makes COVID long-haulers unique is the unspecificity of their symptoms. While their symptoms are undeniably tied to their original infection, medical experts don’t yet understand why. Long-term effects of COVID can range from mild acute symptoms to severe chronic conditions.

COVID-19 long-haulers face a wide range of long-term symptoms, such as:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Brain fog
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Blood clots
  • Lost sense of smell or taste
  • Increased heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Lung damage
  • Organ damage
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Cough

Connecting these symptoms back to COVID requires proper documentation from all practitioners, meaning accuracy in preparing these documents is critical.

How Proper Documentation Influences Coding and Billing

Proper patient care can’t exist without clinical documentation. Without accurate documentation of a patient’s medical history, it can be difficult for practitioners to correctly diagnose and treat medical issues as they arise. Clinical documentation directly impacts the care they need. It also influences how medical facilities bill patients and their insurance companies. To minimize denied insurance claims and optimize facility revenue, medical coders must apply the correct codes during the billing process. 

This can be complicated for practitioners and medical facilities caring for COVID long-haulers. With a seemingly endless range of long-term side effects attributed to the original infection, proper documentation is more important than ever before for accurate coding and billing.

Regulatory Changes Muddy the Waters

Medical facilities across the country have been shouldering the brunt of the pandemic, with healthcare workers on the frontlines. Adding to this stress has been an abundance of recent regulatory changes that complicate coding and billing, including:

  • Evolving COVID coding guidelines
  • Fluctuating effective dates for insurance waivers
  • Complicated query forms
  • Changing guidance over telehealth modifiers
  • New instructions for change of service codes
  • New developments surrounding beneficiary cost sharing

There’s no doubt that the lasting symptoms that COVID long-haulers experience complicates the entire documentation, coding, and billing process for medical facilities. Without precise coding, facilities are often left with denied claims that significantly impact revenue. This leaves facilities without the proper funding needed to hire new staff, update medical equipment, invest in innovative technology, and more. 

Get Expert Medical Billing Services from Coronis

An image showing members of a team, a man and a woman are in a meeting discussing data and charts. Used for Billing and claims process for COVID-19 long-haulers.

Navigating the billing and claims process takes time and resources away from facilities that are already struggling to keep up with the many challenges that have arisen during the pandemic. Our medical billing services provide data-driven solutions for all your medical coding and billing needs. 

We’re forward-thinking innovators who utilize the latest technology to support and assist the administrative side of your facility. From quick implementation to artificial intelligence (AI), we understand that constant evolution is what drives success. With a team of experienced medical coders, we can ensure accurate coding and billing for your COVID long-hauler patients. We are confident that our medical billing services can increase your internal revenue. 

Our goal is to maximize your profits and reduce your administrative costs so you can continue providing quality care for your patients.

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