Ebola is on American’s minds. What is the ICD-9-CM code for Ebola?

By: Jeanne Yoder, CPC, CPC-I

ICD-9-CM code 078.89 Other specified diseases due to viruses is the only option, right now, to report Ebola: Follow the ICD-9-cm index from “Infection” to “Ebola.”

If you follow the index from “Fever” to “Hemorragic” to “Ebola,” you are directed to 065.8 Other specified arthropod-borne hemorrhagic fever; but we now know Ebola is spread by body fluids, so we shouldn’t use 065.8.

How will 078.89 work out with inpatient billing?

Unless your Ebola patient has a tracheotomy with ventilator greater than 96 hours, or your patient stays longer than 16 days, you will be reimbursed about the same amount as for a cesarean section. Is this how much it will cost your hospital? Do most Ebola patients stay an average of three or four days? Just consider the cost of the drugs being used (perhaps off label, but to save a life)… Consider the isolation costs…

If the implementation of ICD-10-CM was not delayed, there would have been a specific diagnosis for Ebola, A98.4 Ebola virus disease. We could have done something about a separate Diagnosis Related Group if we had a specific disease code. MS-DRGs are based on expenses, and conditions with similar expenses are grouped together.

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