August is observed as Psoriasis Awareness Month in the United States. Sponsored by the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), the campaign aims to generate widespread awareness about psoriasis and encourage research for people living with this chronic skin condition. Psoriasis is the most prevalent, chronic autoimmune disease that causes rapid build-up of skin cells. This over growth of cells on the skin can lead to thick, scaly plaques that may itch or cause discomfort.Recent reports suggest that the condition affects about 8 million people in the United States. It is estimated that around 125 million people or 10-30 percent of the global population develops psoriasis, which is usually associated with other conditions including psoriatic arthritis, Type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and heart disease. The exact cause of this condition is not fully known, but it is thought to be largely related to an immune system problem and genetics. The skin condition can begin at any age, though the disease typically manifests in adulthood. Treatment for this skin condition aims to reduce inflammation and clear the skin. On the other hand, lifestyle measures, such as moisturizing, quitting smoking and managing stress, may also help. When compared to other medical specialties, dermatology is much more complex when it comes to accurately reporting the symptoms, diagnosis, screening and management. For accurate clinical documentation of the condition, healthcare practices depend on medical billing outsourcing companies.

The 2019 month-long event offers a public platform for the psoriasis community to educate and inform sufferers on a range of topics varying from causes, symptoms, treatment, triggers and management of the inflammatory and often irritating disease. Psoriasis signs and symptoms may not be similar for everyone and may differ from person to person and depend on the type of psoriasis. Red, raised, inflamed patches of skin covered with thick, silvery scales are one of the initial signs and symptoms. Scales or flakes may develop on joints (like elbows and knees) and any other part of the body including the hands, feet, neck, scalp and face. Other related symptoms include – dry/cracked skin that may bleed, small scaling spots, swollen and stiff joints, soreness/itching/burning sensation around the patches, thick pitted nails and painful or swollen joints. These symptoms may develop in flares (that occur for different lengths of time) with specific periods of remission that lasts for an average of 1–12 months at a time.

In most cases, diagnosis of this skin condition may begin with a medical history evaluation and physical examination where in the physicians will examine your skin, scalp and nails in detail. In some rare cases, if the symptoms are not very clear and the physicians are not able to definitely analyze the condition, a skin biopsy may be conducted. Dermatologists or other specialists may take a small sample of skin and sent it for detailed laboratory examination. The sample analysis may help correctly determine the type of psoriasis and rule out other possible disorders or infections.

Treatment modalities administered will depend on the type and severity of the condition and will help reduce inflammation and clear the skin. Psoriasis patients while undergoing treatment measures need to regularly use emollients to keep their skin moisturized. This will also help alleviate the number of lesions or plaques that develop and reduce the symptoms of itching and irritation of skin. Treatment modalities include – systemic medications (methotrexate, cyclosporine, biologics, and retinoids), topical therapies (like corticosteroids, synthetic vitamin D analogues, salicylic acid, and moisturizer) and Light therapy (like exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, UVB phototherapy and excimer laser).

Dermatology medical billing and coding is a complex procedure. The symptoms, diagnosis procedures and treatment procedures offered by dermatologists and other specialists must be documented using the correct medical codes. Billing and coding services offered by a reliable medical billing and coding company can help physicians use the correct medical codes for their billing purposes. The following ICD-10 and CPT codes are used for billing procedures –

  • L40 – Psoriasis
    • L40.0 – Psoriasis vulgaris
    • L40.1 – Generalized pustular psoriasis
    • L40.2 – Acrodermatitis continua
    • L40.3 – Pustulosis palmaris et plantaris
    • L40.4 – Guttate psoriasis
    • L40.5 – Arthropathic psoriasis
  • L40.50 – Arthropathic psoriasis, unspecified
    • L40.51 – Distal interphalangeal psoriatic arthropathy
    • L40.52 – Psoriatic arthritis mutilans
    • L40.53 – Psoriatic spondylitis
    • L40.54 – Psoriatic juvenile arthropathy
    • L40.59 – Other psoriatic arthropathy
  • L40.8 – Other psoriasis
  • L40.9 – Psoriasis, unspecified

CPT Codes

  • 96910 – Photochemotherapy; tar and ultraviolet B (Goeckerman treatment) or petrolatum and ultraviolet B
  • 96912 – Photochemotherapy; psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA)
  • 96913 – Photochemotherapy (Goeckerman and/or PUVA) for severe photo responsive dermatoses requiring at least 4-8 hours of care under direct supervision of the physician (includes application of medication and dressings)
  • 96920 – Laser treatment for inflammatory skin disease (psoriasis); total area less than 250 sq. cm
  • 96921 – Laser treatment for inflammatory skin disease (psoriasis); 250 sq. cm to 500 sq.cm
  • 96922 – Laser treatment for inflammatory skin disease (psoriasis); over 500 sq. cm

Psoriasis Awareness Month was first observed in the United States in the year 1997. The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) created the first “National Psoriasis Awareness Month,” as reported in the July/August 1997 issue of the Bulletin, forerunner of NPF Advance. It was NPF’s “first full-scale national public awareness campaign” with messages about psoriasis and NPF in newspapers and on radio and TV. Over the span of 22 years, the campaign has become a national movement for spreading the word about psoriasis and disseminating information and education regarding the same and other related auto-immune disorders.

As part of the monthly campaign, NPF will be offering weekly resources and “challenges” to empower patients to take better control of their health and raise awareness. Each week, NPF will be unlocking a specific theme/challenge to test the patient’s knowledge about the skin disorder. The awareness color for Psoriasis is “Orange and Lavender”. People can actively take part in this campaign by sharing photo/video stories of psoriasis sufferers via social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and spreading information, tips and other resources to help everyone understand what it is like living with psoriasis.People can show their support by sharing NPF social posts and updates with friends by using the hashtag #PsAM19. Other supportive events include awareness-raising walks or running events and lectures/seminars held by medical professionals.

Observe National Psoriasis Awareness Month in August! Join the movement to spread awareness about this auto-immune disorder.