According to reports from the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), an estimated 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis – making it one of the most common autoimmune disorders in the United States. Each year, with an objective to spread awareness about psoriasis – the month of August is observed as “National Psoriasis Awareness Month” in the United States. Sponsored by the NPF, the campaign offers a unique opportunity to educate the general public and dispel myths associated with the disease. It is used as a platform to educate patients on a wide range of topics varying from treatment, causes, triggers and management of the inflammatory and often irritating disease. Regarded as a chronic, autoimmune condition, psoriasis causes rapid buildup of skin cells that result in scaling on the skin’s surface. The buildup of skin cells can cause red, itchy scaly patches, most commonly on the knees, elbows, trunk and scalp, and create discomfort. It is estimated that 59 percent of people report the condition as a problem in their everyday lives. The exact cause of the condition is unknown, but it is thought to be largely associated with an immune system problem and genetics. Several other conditions like – Type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, psoriatic arthritis, anxiety and depression are also associated with the condition. The autoimmune condition can occur at any age, though the disease typically manifests in adulthood. Treatment modalities involve a combination of medications and other alternative therapies that help reduce symptoms of inflammation and clear the skin. In addition, lifestyle modifications can greatly help manage symptoms and prevent flares. Dermatology medical billing and coding can be challenging. For accurate clinical documentation of this skin disorder, healthcare practices can depend on medical billing outsourcing companies.

The 2020 month-long observance is a time to generate awareness, promote the need for a cure after psoriasis, and spur advocacy on behalf of those suffering with the emotional and physical burden of psoriasis. It calls attention to the fact that many people do not understand psoriasis, which makes it difficult for those with the condition to cope. Psoriasis comprises five different types namely – Plaque, Guttate, Pustular, Inverse and Erythrodermic. The signs and symptoms depend on the specific type of psoriasis which may vary from one person to another. Symptoms may develop in flares (that occur for different lengths of time) with specific periods of remission that last for an average of 1-12 months at a time. Areas of psoriasis can be as small as a few flakes on the scalp or elbow, or cover the majority of the body. Red, raised, inflamed patches of skin are one of the most common symptoms of this condition. Other associated symptoms include – dry/cracked skin that may bleed, small scaling spots, swollen and stiff joints, soreness/itching/burning sensation around the patches, thick pitted nails and painful or swollen joints.

Diagnosis of this skin condition may begin with a physical examination and medical history evaluation wherein the physicians will examine the patient’s skin, scalp and nails in detail. However, if the disease symptoms are not clear, physicians may take a small sample of skin (biopsy) for laboratory analysis which can help correctly determine the type of psoriasis and rule out other possible disorders or infections. Treatment modalities for this condition may depend on the type of psoriasis and severity of symptoms. Common treatment modalities include – Systemic Medications (methotrexate, cyclosporine, biologics, and retinoids), Topical Therapies (like corticosteroids, synthetic vitamin D analogues, salicylic acid, and moisturizer) and Light Therapy (like exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, UVB phototherapy and excimer laser). Dermatologists and other skin specialists treating psoriasis patients must correctly document the diagnosis, screening tests and other treatment procedures offered using the correct diagnosis codes. This is crucial both from the point of view of patient care as well as reimbursement. Billing and coding services provided by reputable medical billing and coding companies can help in timely claim submissions for accurate reimbursement. ICD-10 and CPT codes used for billing procedures include –

  • L40 – Psoriasis
    • L40.0 – Psoriasis vulgaris
    • L40.1 – Generalized pustular psoriasis
    • L40.2 – Acrodermatitis continua
    • L40.3 – Pustulosis palmaris et plantaris
    • L40.4 – Guttate psoriasis
    • L40.5 – Arthropathic psoriasis
  • L40.50 – Arthropathic psoriasis, unspecified
    • L40.51 – Distal interphalangeal psoriatic arthropathy
    • L40.52 – Psoriatic arthritis mutilans
    • L40.53 – Psoriatic spondylitis
    • L40.54 – Psoriatic juvenile arthropathy
    • L40.59 – Other psoriatic arthropathy
  • L40.8 – Other psoriasis
  • L40.9 – Psoriasis, unspecified

CPT Codes

  • 96910 – Photochemotherapy; tar and ultraviolet B (Goeckerman treatment) or petrolatum and ultraviolet B
  • 96912 – Photochemotherapy; psoralen and ultraviolet A (PUVA)
  • 96913 – Photochemotherapy (Goeckerman and/or PUVA) for severe photo responsive dermatoses requiring at least 4-8 hours of care under direct supervision of the physician (includes application of medication and dressings)
  • 96920 – Laser treatment for inflammatory skin disease (psoriasis); total area less than 250 sq. cm
  • 96921 – Laser treatment for inflammatory skin disease (psoriasis); 250 sq. cm to 500 sq.cm
  • 96922 – Laser treatment for inflammatory skin disease (psoriasis); over 500 sq. cm

The first “Psoriasis Awareness Month” was observed in 1997 in the United States. The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) created the first “National Psoriasis Awareness Month,” as reported in the July/August 1997 issue of the Bulletin, the forerunner of NPF Advance. It was NPF’s “first full-scale national public awareness campaign” with messages about psoriasis and NPF in newspapers and on radio and TV. Within the span of 23 years, the observance went on to become a popular movement for generating awareness about psoriasis and publicizing information and education regarding the same and other related auto-immune disorders.

As part of the 2020 observance, NPF will be offering weekly resources and “challenges” to enable patients to take better control of their health. Each week, NPF will be unlocking a specific theme/challenge to test the patient’s knowledge about the skin disorder. The 2020 awareness color for Psoriasis is “Orange and Lavender”. The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) partners with corporations to improve the quality of life for people who have psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. By working together, both organizations aim to educate patients and medical professionals, ensure access to treatment, promote awareness and understanding of the disease and build a grassroots network. Patients can participate in this campaign by sharing their stories, videos and photos via top social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Patients can spread information, and provide tips and other resources to help everyone understand what it is like living with psoriasis. People can also participate in awareness-raising walks or running events and lectures/seminars organized by medical communities.

Take part in 2020 Psoriasis Awareness Month Campaign and utilize this opportunity to show your support for those with psoriatic disease.