Brain Injury Awareness MonthEach year, the month of March is officially recognized as “Brain Injury Awareness Month” in the United States. Sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the event aims to increase widespread public awareness about the incidence of brain injury, including prevention, recognition and response. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction. It usually results from a sudden and violent blow or jolt to the head or body. The type of injury sustained by an individual can range from mild to severe. The extent of damage may depend on several factors including the nature of the event and the force of impact. Mild traumatic brain injury may affect brain cells temporarily. On the other hand, more serious brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. Treatment for this brain disorder is generally based on the type and severity of the injury. Mild TBI usually requires no treatment other than rest and over-the-counter pain relievers to relieve headache. Moderate to severe TBI requires treatment in a hospital ICU that focuses on ensuring whether the patient gets adequate oxygen and blood supply and maintains blood pressure. Neurologists or other healthcare specialists must provide appropriate treatment and also ensure that the medical coding for this condition is properly done on the medical claims. Proper coding on the medical claims is crucial for medical coding companies to ensure accurate documentation and reimbursement.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a leading cause of death and disability among people in the US. Reports from the United States Brain Injury Alliance suggest that about 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. It is projected that approximately 52,000 deaths occur each year due to this type of injury. The month of March was first designated as “Brain Injury Awareness Month” in the year 1984 with an objective to make people more aware about brain wound prevention, treatment and advance research and education in order to improve the quality of life of people affected by TBI.

The theme for the 2018 to 2020 campaign is “Change Your Mind”. The new theme provides a platform for educating the general public about the incidence of brain injury and the needs of people suffering from brain injuries and their families. The event also lends itself to outreach within the brain-injury community with a view to de-stigmatize the injury, empower the survivors and also improve the different types of support available.

TBI (also called invisible injury) is often difficult to diagnose. There are several symptoms associated with this brain disorder which include – headache, unconsciousness, confusion and disorientation, dizziness, difficulty in remembering new pieces of information, paralysis, trouble speaking coherently, ringing in the ears and difficulty in moving body parts. The type and severity of symptoms may possibly depend on whether the injury is mild, moderate or severe. Hence, early diagnosis of symptoms and appropriate referral is crucial for effective treatment of TBI. Neurologists perform different diagnosis tests such as Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), SPECT scan, Diffuse Tensor Imaging and PET scan to accurately measure the various areas of a person’s speech, movement and memory.

Neurologists who provide specialized treatment to the patients are reimbursed for their services. The diagnosis, screening tests and other procedures must be carefully documented using the correct medical codes. Medical billing and coding services provided by reliable companies can help physicians use the correct codes for their medical billing purposes.

ICD-10 Codes for “Traumatic Brain Injury”

In ICD-10, intracranial injury is listed under category S06 and ranges from S06.0 Concussion to S06.9 Unspecified intracranial injury.

  • S06.0- Concussion
  • S06.1- Traumatic cerebral edema
  • S06.2- Diffuse traumatic brain injury
  • S06.3- Focal traumatic brain injury
  • S06.4- Epidural hemorrhage
  • S06.5- Traumatic subdural hemorrhage
  • S06.6- Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • S06.8- Other specified intracranial injuries
  • S06.9- Unspecified intracranial injury

For instance, S06.2 signifies diffuse traumatic brain injury. There are a number of choices, categorized in relation to any associated loss of consciousness (LOC). Some of these codes include –

S06.2X Diffuse traumatic brain injury
Brain Injury Awareness

  • S06.2X0 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury without loss of consciousness
  • S06.2X1 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of 30 minutes or less
  • S06.2X2 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of 31 minutes to 59 minutes
  • S06.2X3 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of 1 hour to 5 hours 59 minutes
  • S06.2X4 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of 6 hours to 24 hours
  • S06.2X5 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness greater than 24 hours with return to pre-existing conscious levels
  • S06.2X6 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness greater than 24 hours without return to pre-existing conscious level with patient surviving
  • S06.2X7 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of any duration with death due to brain injury prior to regaining consciousness
  • S06.2X8 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of any duration with death due to other cause prior to regaining consciousness
  • S06.2X9 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of unspecified duration

It is important to indicate the encounter, which can be found at the beginning of category S06 (intracranial injury). Any associated skull fracture (S02.-) or open wound of head (S01.-) will also have to be coded.

By taking part in this annual awareness campaign, people can unite with those millions of citizens living with TBI and their families who are taking steps to ensure that their voices are heard. The event will be widely observed in hospitals, trauma centers and other rehabilitation centers countrywide by hosting a series of events like community or fundraiser events, exhibitions, sharing stories and social media pages, displaying posters and distributing materials, making presentations and conducting seminars, lectures and discussions on brain-related topics.

Designating the month of March for “Brain Injury Awareness” would help widen awareness about TBI and provide an opportunity to those individuals and families to share their experiences and make people more aware about how this brain disorder had adversely affected their daily lives.

Join “Brain Injury Awareness Month” celebration. Make a commitment to spread awareness about this brain disorder.