February is observed as “American Heart Month” – a time when the nation spotlights heart disease – the number one killer of Americans. Sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA), the annual campaign is a perfect time to focus on cardiovascular health. Focusing on cardiovascular health has always been an important concern. The federally designated event generates wide significance particularly this year; due to the impact of the COVID -19 pandemic on the public heart health – including potential harmful effects on the heart and vascular system, according to recent research. People with poor cardiovascular health are at increased risk of suffering severe illness from COVID-19. The campaign aims to generate widespread awareness about the several risk factors associated with the heart disease and the specific steps to be taken to maintain good heart health. It aims to motivate Americans to adopt healthy lifestyles to prevent different types of heart disease. Cardiologists providing treatment for different types of cardiovascular diseases need to have up-to-date knowledge about the latest guidelines or practices for medical billing and coding. For correct clinical documentation of different types of heart disorders, physicians can benefit from the services of medical billing companies.

As per reports from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), every year more than 600,000 Americans die from heart disease. It is estimated that about half of Americans have at least one specific risk factor for heart disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that heart disease and the conditions that lead to it can happen at any age. Nearly half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease – high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. In fact, high rates of obesity and blood pressure among people (aged 35-64 years) can put them at risk for heart disease earlier in life.

The 2021 campaign acts as the perfect platform to educate people about the different types of cardiovascular disease. Coronary heart disease (CHD) (also called coronary artery disease (CAD) is regarded as one of the most common forms of heart disease that affect people. CHD develops when the major blood vessels that supply your heart with oxygen and other essential nutrients become damaged or diseased. Vascular injury with cholesterol plaque buildup in the arteries (known as atherosclerosis) is one of the most common causes of CHD. Chest pain that spreads to the neck, jaw, ears, arms, and wrists, and possibly to the shoulder blades, back, or abdomen are one of the initial symptoms associated with the condition. The annual observance aims to educate people about the need for incorporating key lifestyle changes like – regular body exercise, consuming a nutritious diet, quitting smoking and alcohol consumption, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Cardiologists and other specialists treating different types of cardiovascular diseases must be correctly reimbursed for the services provided. The diagnosis and other screening tests offered must be reported on the medical claims using the correct medical codes. Outsourced medical billing services provided by reliable companies can help physicians use the correct codes for their billing and coding requirements. ICD-10 codes related to heart diseases include –

  • I25 – Chronic ischemic heart disease
  • I25.1 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery
    • I25.10 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery, without angina pectoris
    • I25.11 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery with angina pectoris
      • I25.110 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery with unstable angina pectoris
      • I25.111 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery with unstable angina pectoris, with documented spasm
      • I25.118 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery with other forms of angina pectoris
      • I25.119 – Atherosclerotic heart disease of native coronary artery with unspecified angina pectoris

It was in the year 1963 that February was officially designated as “American Heart Month” by the then US President Lyndon B. Johnson. The primary focus of this month-long observance campaign was to motivate Americans to join the battle against this chronic heart disorder. Since 2004, February has also been the signature month for the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign with the message that heart disease is not only a man’s problem, but a woman’s problem, too. “Go Red for Women”, acts as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally. Each year, the first Friday of February has been designated as “National Wear Red Day” to inspire women to take charge of their heart health. In 2021, this “National Wear Red Day” (as part of the AHA’s Go Red for Women initiative) is observed on February 5. Across the state and the nation on February 5 (Friday), right from coast to coast, landmarks to news anchors, neighborhoods to online communities, this annual groundswell unites millions of people for one common goal – provide support for the eradication of heart disease.

During the American Heart Month, the AHA and other organizations reinforce the importance of heart health, the need for more research and efforts to ensure that millions of people live longer and healthier. In most cases, heart disease is preventable when people adopt a healthy lifestyle involving – quitting the habit of smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood sugar and cholesterol, treating high blood pressure, doing moderate-intensity physical activity (on a daily basis) and getting regular checkups.

As part of the 2021 campaign, health care organizations, hospitals, schools, health departments and corporations hold seminars and public outreach events to generate widespread awareness about heart health and educate people about prevention and screening of heart disease. A wide variety of events like health screenings, educational talks and workshops will be arranged to promote heart-health awareness and education. People can actively take part in the campaign by sharing the graphics and social messages with their followers for American Heart Month via several social media platforms. People can also post messages with the hash tag – #HeartMonth on social media platforms like Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram. People can support the campaign by wearing something red on that day and take and share those pictures on social platforms.

Support the American Heart Month campaign this February and spread more awareness about the importance of cardiovascular health.