“World Alzheimer’s Day” is observed internationally on September 21 every year. Sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), this one-day campaign aims to raise awareness and challenge the common stigma that surrounds Alzheimer-related dementia. Regarded as the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s is a group of disorders that impair mental functioning and cause problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Reports say that about 50 million people are living with dementia worldwide – making it one of the biggest global challenges that people face. It is estimated that there is a new case of dementia occurring every 3 seconds around the world. In this neurodegenerative disease, the brain cells degenerate and die, causing a steady decline in memory and mental function. There are different signs and symptoms associated with this syndrome and this may vary from one person to another. The most common and initial symptom is gradual deterioration in the ability to remember new pieces of information. At first, the signs and symptoms are mild, but they become more severe over time. Other prominent symptoms include – difficulty completing familiar tasks at home/office, misplacing objects, confusion with time or place, changes in mood or personality, challenges in planning or solving problems and problems with words in speaking or writing. Neurologists treating Alzheimer’s patients have to use the correct diagnostic and procedural codes on the medical claims. For accurate clinical documentation for this brain disorder, physicians can benefit from the services of medical billing outsourcing companies.

World Alzheimers Day

According to reports from Alzheimer’s Association (2018 statistics), about 5.7 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer’s dementia. This statistical figure includes an estimated 5.5 million people aged 65 years and older and approximately 200,000 individuals below 65 years who have younger-onset Alzheimer’s. The one-day campaign aims to generate awareness, highlight issues faced by people affected by dementia and demonstrate how we can overcome them to help people live well with dementia.

This brain disorder is caused by a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the brain over time. In most cases, the condition is caused by brain cell death that happens gradually. In a person with Alzheimer’s, the tissue has fewer and fewer nerve cells and connections. The potential risk factors that may increase the risk of developing this progressive brain disease include – age, gender, health and lifestyle, family history, traumatic brain injury, cardiovascular diseases and other social and cognitive engagement.

There is no specific single test today that confirms the presence of this brain syndrome. However, physicians may conduct a combination of cognitive, physical and neurologic tests/examinations to establish the presence of this condition. Neurologists may recommend several brain imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT), and positron emission tomography (PET) to confirm whether the patient has this condition. The major objective behind these tests is to identify this condition early so that it can be treated more effectively. Routine standard screening tests allow physicians to identify the exact symptoms and start early treatment without any further complications.

Medicare offers coverage for medical and mental health conditions. This may cover ongoing hospital care, doctor visits, physical exam and several other tests. Physicians/neurologists offering treatment have to report the correct diagnostic and procedural codes on the claims to ensure due coverage. Medical billing and coding services offered by reputable and experienced providers focus on ensuring that the right ICD-10 codes are used for medical billing.

The following ICD-10 codes are used for Alzheimer’s disease –

  • G30 – Alzheimer’s disease
  • G30.0 – Alzheimer’s disease with early onset
  • G30.1 – Alzheimer’s disease with late onset
  • G30.8 – Other Alzheimer’s disease
  • G30.9 – Alzheimer’s disease unspecified

Under category G30, coders must assign the following additional codes to signify –

  • F05 – Delirium, if applicable
  • F02.81 – Dementia with behavioral disturbance
  • F02.80 – Dementia without behavioral disturbance

World Alzheimer’s day was first launched in the year 1994 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI – the international federation of Alzheimer associations around the world) which empowers other organizations with research and updated knowledge about Alzheimer’s and its related symptoms. ADI holds international conferences and conducts a series of practical workshops to educate people about the effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia and what people can do about it.

As part of the 2018 one-day campaign, several annual events are coordinated by Alzheimer’s disease International (ADI) and World Health Organization (WHO). Healthcare organizations across the world are hosting a variety of community and clinical activities to create awareness about screening and treatment for Alzheimer’s. These organizations can get involved in these activities by contacting the Alzheimer’s association in their specific country.

“Purple” is the official color chosen for this one-day event. People working in healthcare organizations around the world can wear purple to express their support and awareness.

Join “World Alzheimer’s Day” celebration on September 21. Make a commitment to undergo early screening for this disease to get effective treatment.