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March is observed as “Brain Injury Awareness Month” in the United States each year. Sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA), the campaign offers a unique opportunity to bring attention towards the prevention of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and promote strategies to improve the quality of life for persons living with TBI and their families. It aims to alert people about the causes, symptoms and eliminate the stigma surrounding brain injuries. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – form of acquired brain injury – occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. The condition results when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. The degree of damage can depend on several factors, including the nature of the injury and the force of impact. Generally, the type of injury to the brain can range from mild to severe. Mild brain injuries can affect your brain cells temporarily, whereas more severe brain injuries can result in long-term complications or death. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on the extent of damage to the brain. Treatment modalities for TBI may depend on the type and severity of the injury. Neurologists and other specialists treating different types of brain injuries must ensure that the billing and coding for this condition is done properly on the claims. Relying on the services of a professional medical billing and coding company can help in ensuring accurate documentation and reimbursement.

Regarded as a leading cause of death and disability among people in the US, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) affects around 1.7 million people, with older adolescents aged 15 to 19 years and older adults aged 65 years and older among the most likely to sustain a TBI. The condition has an annual incidence of approximately 500 in 100,000. In fact, around 80 percent of all TBI cases are categorized as mild head injuries. Common events that can cause TBI include – falls, vehicle-related collisions, sports injuries, explosive blasts and other combat injuries.

The 2020 month-long campaign is dedicated to improving awareness of brain injuries and providing quality support to those affected people by understanding their needs and thereby improving their outcomes for the future. TBI can have wide-ranging physical and psychological effects. The symptoms of this condition may at times appear immediately after the traumatic event, while others may appear days or weeks later. Common symptoms 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 depend on whether the injury is mild, moderate or severe. For this reason, correct and early diagnosis of symptoms and appropriate treatment administration is important for effectively combating TBI. Neurologists and other specialists recommend performing different diagnostic imaging 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 have to report the diagnosis, screening tests and other procedures using the correct medical codes. Medical billing services offered by experienced medical billing and coding companies ensure this so that accurate claim submissions are done.

In ICD-10, intracranial injury is listed under category S06 and ranges from S06.0 – Concussion to S06.9 -Unspecified intracranial injury. Under each specific category, there are several sub-category codes.

  • 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

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 injury prevention, treatment and forward 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 #ChangeYourMind public awareness campaign provides a platform for educating the general public about the incidence of brain injury and the needs of people with 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 those who have survived, and promote the many types of support that are available.

As part of the monthly campaign, individuals and businesses from across the world host diverse events with a common goal – to spread information about brain injury. People can help raise awareness about brain injury by sharing their side of the story either as a person with a brain injury, family member, or loved one affected by brain injury. The campaign will be widely observed in hospitals, healthcare trauma and rehabilitation centers across the world by hosting a series of events like community or fundraiser events, sharing stories and displaying posters via social media platforms, making presentations and conducting seminars, lectures and discussions on brain-related topics.

Join in the observance of “Brain Injury Awareness Month” this March. Use this awareness platform to gain more information about brain injuries, symptoms, causes and treatment options.