Pulmonary Rehabilitation WeekEvery year, the second week of March is celebrated as "National Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week" in the United States. Sponsored by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR), this week-long celebration will be observed from 8 – 14th March 2015. The annual campaign is a special platform to provide education about the pivotal role of pulmonary rehabilitation in enhancing the quality of life of individuals living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). It also focuses on improving the emotional wellbeing of people and restoring them to their highest functional capacity.

As per reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the US. It is estimated that about 15 percent of Americans in the age group of 40-79 years suffer from some form of lung obstruction – typically asthma or COPD.

The theme for this year’s event is – "Pulmonary Rehabilitation: The Results Will Blow You Away". The campaign will be celebrated at hospitals, exercise facilities, and outpatient rehabilitation centers countrywide which will host health fairs, open house or seminars to discuss health, lungs, fitness and other related topics.

Over the years, pulmonary rehabilitation has evolved as a comprehensive program for improving the lives of people suffering from chronic lung disease. The programs include monitored exercise, lifestyle modification, diet, nutrition counseling and behavioral health services that help to better manage the symptoms of the disease.

COPD refers to a group of progressive lung conditions (diseases) that make it difficult to empty the air out of the lungs; this leads to serious problems in breathing. The associated symptoms include increasing breathlessness (when active), cough, fatigue and frequent respiratory infections. The most common cause of this condition is smoking. In addition, genetics and environmental factors such as heavy exposure to certain dusts and indoor or outdoor air pollution can contribute to the same.

It is important to diagnose COPD at an early stage so that treatment can be initiated to slow down the deterioration of the lungs. Pulmonologists play an important role in spreading awareness about COPD and the need for treating these conditions at an early stage. For early detection, physicians recommend different standard screening tests such as spirometry, arterial blood gas test, oximetry, and lung function test as these help to better identify and manage the symptoms of this disease.

As such, there is no cure for COPD. However, there are different steps one can follow to relieve symptoms and prevent the disease from getting worse. Physicians can advise patients about the different methods that can be followed to effectively manage the disease symptoms. Pulmonologists while initiating different treatment modalities should have adequate knowledge about the latest medical billing and coding updates. Accurate diagnostic and procedural codes must be reported on the medical claims.

Physicians use the following codes for medical billing purposes

ICD-9 codes

  • 491.0 – Simple chronic bronchitis
  • 491.1 – Mucopurulent chronic bronchitis
  • 491.20 – Obstructive chronic bronchitis without exacerbation
  • 491.21 – Obstructive chronic bronchitis with (acute) exacerbation
  • 491.22 – Obstructive chronic bronchitis with acute bronchitis
  • 491.8 – Other chronic bronchitis
  • 491.9 – Unspecified chronic bronchitis
  • 492.0 – Emphysematous bleb
  • 492.8 – Other emphysema
  • 493.20 – Chronic obstructive asthma, unspecified
  • 493.21 – Chronic obstructive asthma with status asthmaticus
  • 493.22 – Chronic obstructive asthma with (acute) exacerbation
  • 496 – Chronic airway obstruction, not elsewhere classified

ICD-10 codes

  • J41.0 – Simple chronic bronchitis
  • J41.1 – Mucopurulent chronic bronchitis
  • J41.8 – Mixed simple and mucopurulent chronic bronchitis
  • J42 – Unspecified chronic bronchitis
  • J43.1 – Panlobular emphysema
  • J43.2 – Centrilobular emphysema
  • J43.8 – Other emphysema
  • J43.9 – Emphysema, unspecified
  • J44.0 – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with acute lower respiratory infection
  • J44.1 – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with acute exacerbation, unspecified
  • J44.9 – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, unspecified

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Week is observed to alert Americans about the role of rehabilitation services in enhancing the quality of life of people diagnosed with COPD. It also aims to teach patients how to increase their exercise capacity, reduce fatigue, cope with breathlessness and better manage their disease symptoms.