COVID-19 & ARDS vs. Acute Respiratory Failure
We have a question regarding ARDS (J80) vs. Acute Respiratory Failure (J96) and which to code when both are documented. The J96 category (Resp fail) has an Excludes1 for J80 ARDS, so you cannot code both unless there is documentation of the ARDS being related to something other than the resp failure. Clinically, since ARDS is a more severe/specific diagnosis than RespFail and if both are documented, it would make sense to code J80.
3M also said this in this webinar around 17 min in. However, when you put each of them in the encoder (attached word file), J80 has a lower SOI/ROM. Prior to COVID-19, the coders would just code J96, if both were documented, but we now moved to coding J80 for COVID-19 patients. What are your thoughts/rationale?