HAP Radiology Billing and Coding Blog

New Diagnosis Codes Related to COVID-19 Take Effect in 2021

Posted: By Erin Stephens on February 22, 2021

New Diagnosis Codes Related to COVID-19 Take Effect in 2021Most of the annual changes to diagnosis coding under ICD-10[i] system take effect on October 1, but other changes occur during the year. There are quite a few codes that became effective on January 1, 2021, all related to COVID-19 conditions.


When COVID-19 is the principal diagnosis, U07.1 COVID-19 should be sequenced first as the primary diagnosis, except when other guidelines (such as obstetrics, sepsis, or transplant complications) require that those guidelines be listed first as we discussed in our recent article. Additional codes are used to identify other manifestations. The following are new codes to be used along with the U07.1 COVID-19 diagnosis as of January 1, 2021:




Pneumonia due to COVID-19


Multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) with COVID-19


Other specified systemic involvement of connective tissue with COVID-19



For a patient with multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) (M35.81) as the primary diagnosis, additional codes related to COVID-19 are available as follows:




Sequelae of COVID-19


Personal history of COVID-19


Contact with and (suspected) exposure to COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2



In our annual update we reported that the code Z20.828 Contact with and (suspected) exposure to other viral communicable diseases would be used for an asymptomatic patient who experienced actual or suspected exposure to COVID-19. The addition of new code Z20.822 changes that definition somewhat.

  • 822 Contact with and (suspected) exposure to COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 is to be used when COVID has not been ruled out, and
  • 828 is to be used when COVID has been ruled out.

When other signs or symptoms are present, they are listed first with Z20.828 or Z20.822 listed additionally.

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We previously reported that Z86.19 Personal history of other infectious and parasitic diseases could be used when seeing patients who have recovered from COVID-19 but now there is a more specific code, Z86.16 Personal history of COVID-19. When it is appropriate, Z09 Encounter for follow-up examination after completed treatment for conditions other than malignant neoplasm can still be used.


COVID testing performed during the preoperative screening process is to code using Z11.52 Encounter for screening for COVID-19.


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[i] ICD stands for International Classification of Diseases, the system owned and copyrighted by the World Health Organization that is used to report diagnoses when submitting claims for reimbursement of physician services, among many other purposes. ICD-10 is the 10th edition of this coding system.  CM stands for the Clinical Modification of the classification system.


Erin Stephens, CPC, CIRCC  is the Sr. Client Manager, Education at Healthcare Administrative Partners. 


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Topics: radiology coding, COVID-19

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