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In order to generate widespread awareness about traumatic brain injury, the month of September is observed as “National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month” each year countrywide. Sponsored by the Johnny O Foundation, the campaign is a unique platform to educate people about the incidence of brain injury and a variety of safe behaviors that they can adopt to reduce their risk of injury. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is considered a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. The condition occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain that can affect disruption in the normal function of the brain. Common causes of TBI include falls, sports injuries, vehicle-related collisions and explosive blasts and other combat injuries. The degree of damage can depend on several factors, including the nature of the injury and the force of impact. Treatment for this condition includes medications (opioids, diuretics, anti-seizure and coma-inducing medications) and surgery in extreme cases. Neurologists or other healthcare specialists must provide adequate treatment and also ensure that the medical coding for this brain disorder is properly done on the medical claims. Proper coding on the medical claims is crucial for medical coding companies to ensure accurate documentation and reimbursement.

Reports suggests that around 1.7 million people in the United States suffer from TBI 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 approximately 500 in 100,000 in the United States. However, around 80% of all TBI cases are categorized as mild head injuries. There are two major types of TBI – open and closed. Further classifications include – Concussion (the most common type of TBI, which may or may not involve a loss of consciousness), Contusion (when a direct blow causes localized bleeding in the brain), Diffuse axonal injury (when tears occur in the brain structure due to shearing by the skull) and penetrating injury (when a sharp object enters the brain).

The awareness month aims to make people more aware about brain wound treatment and advance research and education in order to improve the quality of life of people affected by TBI. Diagnosing TBI is often difficult. Signs and symptoms of TBI include – headache, loss of consciousness (for a few seconds to a few minutes), nausea or vomiting, fatigue or drowsiness, sensory problems, loss of balance, difficulty with sleeping, memory or concentration problems, problems with speech and paralysis. The severity of symptoms may directly depend on whether the injury is mild, moderate or severe. Hence, early diagnosis of symptoms is important for effective treatment of TBI. Neurologists perform different diagnosis 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. Treatment modalities for this condition include pain relief or anti-seizure medications (to control symptoms) and surgery (to remove hematoma and repair a skull fracture) in severe cases.

Neurologists and other specialists who offer treatment to the patients are reimbursed for their services. The diagnosis, screening tests and other procedures must be carefully documented using the correct medical codes. Medical billing and coding services provided by reliable and established companies can help physicians use the correct codes for their medical billing purposes.

In ICD-10, intracranial injury is listed under category S06 and ranges from S06.0 Concussion to S06.9 Unspecified intracranial injury.

  • 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

For instance, S06.2 signifies diffuse traumatic brain injury. There are a number of choices, categorized in relation to any associated loss of consciousness (LOC). Some of these codes include –

  • S06.2X Diffuse traumatic brain injury
    • SS06.2X0 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury without loss of consciousness
    • SS06.2X1 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of 30 minutes or less
    • SS06.2X2 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of 31 minutes to 59 minutes
    • SS06.2X3 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of 1 hour to 5 hours 59 minutes
    • SS06.2X4 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of 6 hours to 24 hours
    • SS06.2X5 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness greater than 24 hours with return to pre-existing conscious levels
    • SS06.2X6 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness greater than 24 hours without return to pre-existing conscious level with patient surviving
    • SS06.2X7 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of any duration with death due to brain injury prior to regaining consciousness
    • SS06.2X8 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of any duration with death due to other cause prior to regaining consciousness
    • SS06.2X9 – Diffuse traumatic brain injury with loss of consciousness of unspecified duration

However, it is important to specify the encounter, which can be found at the beginning of category S06 (intracranial injury). Any associated skull fracture (S02.-) or open wound of head (S01.-) will also have to be coded.

National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month educates people that the most common form of head injury is called mild traumatic brain injury, or “concussion.” Concussions don’t happen just from sports. Concussions frequently happen to the aging population from falls. They generally occur after car accidents or any other trauma to the skull.

This monthly awareness campaign offers a strong platform to unite with those millions of US citizens living with TBI and their families. The event will be widely observed in hospitals, trauma centers and other rehabilitation centers countrywide by hosting a series of events like community or fundraiser events, exhibitions, sharing stories and social media pages, displaying posters and distributing materials, making presentations and conducting seminars, lectures and discussions on brain-related topics.

Take part in “Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness Month celebration in September. Learn about the steps to be taken to reduce the risk of a concussion or other forms of serious brain injury from occurring.