Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate, but it can also be a week to recognize the struggle experienced by people living with Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). Each year around Thanksgiving, a week is reserved in the National Health Observances Calendar to stimulate awareness and support those Americans who may experience heartburn associated with overeating and overindulging. The 21st Annual Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Awareness Week is observed from November 22- 28. Sponsored by the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), the week-long campaign is dedicated to bringing awareness about GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) – a common, long-term condition where acid from the stomach comes up into the esophagus. The acid generation in the esophagus can cause an uncomfortable burning feeling (known as heartburn) in the chest, which can radiate up toward the neck. If left untreated, the condition can sometimes cause serious complications. Maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and reducing stress can help reduce the potential risk of GERD to a great extent. Treatment for GERD may involve the use of protein pump inhibitors, antacids, and other medications, as well as significant lifestyle changes. Medical billing and coding companies and professionals need to stay updated with the latest coding guidelines and other regulations to document this digestive condition accurately.

According to reports from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), GERD affects about 20 percent of people in the United States (2019 statistics). Also called acid regurgitation or gastroesophageal reflux, it occurs in people of all age groups because of overeating, lying down after eating, or eating particular foods. However, in some cases, the condition occurs due to unknown reasons. It is commonly seen in people who are obese or overweight, pregnant women, active or secondhand smokers, and people who consume certain medications including antidepressants, sedatives, calcium channel blockers and antihistamines.

The 2020 week-long campaign aims to raise awareness about GERD and raise the potential for positive impact through adequate research and support. It provides adequate support to those people suffering from GERD symptoms to consult their physicians immediately to receive correct treatment. A burning sensation in the chest (heartburn), usually after eating (which gets worse at night) is one of the key symptoms associated with the condition. As the condition progresses, patients may experience other related symptoms like – chest pain, difficulty in swallowing, regurgitation of food or sour liquid and sensation of a lump in the throat. Diagnosis of GERD begins with a detailed physical examination and analysis of the signs and symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis of GERD and to check for other related complications, physicians may recommend tests like – upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscope, Esophageal manometry, Ambulatory acid (pH) probe test and Upper GI series X-ray. Making serious lifestyle modifications and consuming over-the-counter medications can help reduce the complications to a great extent. If patients don’t experience relief within a few weeks, physicians may recommend prescription medications or surgery. Gastroenterology medical billing and coding can be challenging. When documenting GERD, gastroenterologists or other specialists must include the associated causes, symptoms, diagnosis screening tests and treatment procedures performed using the correct medical codes. Billing and coding services provided by reputable medical billing companies can help physicians use the correct codes for their medical billing purposes. Medical codes related to Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) –

ICD-10 Codes

  • K21 Gastro-esophageal reflux disease
  • K21.0 Gastro-esophageal reflux disease with esophagitis
  • K21.00 Gastro-esophageal reflux disease with esophagitis, without bleeding
  • K21.01 Gastro-esophageal reflux disease with esophagitis, with bleeding
  • K21.9 Gastro-esophageal reflux disease without esophagitis

CPT Codes

  • 43200 – Esophagoscopy, diagnostic
  • 43201 – Esophagoscopy flexible, transoral; with directed submucosal injection(s), any substance
  • 43210 – Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, flexible, transoral; with esophagogastric fundoplasty, partial or complete, includes duodenoscopy when performed
  • 43236 – Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, flexible, transoral; with directed submucosal injection(s), any substance
  • 43241 – Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, flexible, transoral; with insertion of intraluminal tube or catheter
  • 43257 – Esophagogastroduodenoscopy, flexible, transoral; with delivery of thermal energy to the muscle of lower esophageal sphincter and/or gastric cardia, for treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • 43284 – Laparoscopy, surgical, esophageal sphincter augmentation procedure, placement of sphincter augmentation device (i.e., magnetic band), including cruroplasty when performed
  • 43289 – Unlisted laparoscopy procedure, esophagus
  • 43499 – Unlisted procedure, esophagus
  • 43999 – Unlisted procedure, stomach

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) first designated GERD Awareness Week in November 1999. The event listed in the United States National Health Observances calendar aims to educate people about the specific steps that need to be taken to prevent GERD and related conditions. Health professionals, teachers, community groups, and others can use this week-long campaign to sponsor health promotion events and stimulate awareness of health issues. As part of the event, IFFGD organizes a wide range of events and offers resources to help educate others and raise awareness for GERD within the community. These include – sharing GERD Awareness Week posters, print materials, graphic pages, and animated images via various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube and downloading free social media GERD Awareness Week toolkit and promotional images.

Join 2020 GERD Awareness Week Campaign from November 22-28. Learn more about the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and nutrition for GERD patients.