Based in U.S., Outsource Strategies International (OSI) is an experienced provider of medical billing and coding services for diverse medical specialties.

September is National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. In today’s podcast, Meghann Drella, one of our Senior Solutions Managers, discusses the causes and symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury.

Read Transcript

Hello and welcome to our podcast series.

My name is Meghann Drella and I’m a Senior Solutions Manager here at Outsource Strategies International (OSI). Today I’ll be discussing how September is National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month.

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 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 the impact. Treatment for this condition includes 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.

Reports suggest that around 1.7 million people in the United States suffer from TBI with older adolescents (age 15 to 19 years old) and older adults (age 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 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, Contusion, Diffuse axonal injury and Penetrating injury.

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, 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 diagnostic tests such as CT scans, MRIs, SPECT scans, 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 and surgery 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.

National Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month educates people that the most common form of head injury is called the 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 the “Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Awareness celebration month in September. Learn about the steps to be taken to reduce the risk of concussion or other forms of serious brain injury from occurring.

I hope this helps and always remember that documentation as well as a thorough knowledge of payer regulations will help code these procedures properly.

Thank you for joining me and stay tuned for my next podcast!