After sending out the coding tip from March 16th, we received several questions regarding coding the appropriate PDx when a patient has the diagnosis of sepsis and COVID-19.

We all need to remember these are unprecedented times and this guidance is subject to change. We will continue to provide you the most up to date information as we receive and verify it.


You can use the link provided below to see the most up to date FAQ and changes as they occur:

One change to note is copied and pasted from the FAQ regarding sepsis as the PDx.


Sepsis as the PDx


Question: Since the new guidelines for COVID regarding sepsis just say to refer to the sepsis guideline, is that then saying that sepsis would be sequenced first and then U07.1 for a patient presenting with sepsis due to COVID-19? (4/1/2020)


Answer:  Whether or not sepsis or U07.1 is assigned as the principal diagnosis depends on the circumstances of admission and whether sepsis meets the definition of principal diagnosis. For example, if a patient is admitted with pneumonia due to COVID-19 which then progresses to viral sepsis (not present on admission), the principal diagnosis is U07.1, COVID-19, followed by the codes for the viral sepsis and viral pneumonia. On the other hand, if a patient is admitted with sepsis due to COVID-19 pneumonia and the sepsis meets the definition of principal diagnosis, then the code for viral sepsis (A41.89) should be assigned as principal diagnosis followed by codes U07.1 and J12.89, as secondary diagnoses.


Please update the coding tip with the information below: 


Sepsis case confirmed and presumptive as due to the COVID-19

Assign codes:

A41.89, Other specific sepsis

U07.1, COVID-10


As we receive updates to how COVID-19 is being, or should be coded, we will continue to pass it along to you. If you have questions, or want to see our latest COVID-19 resources, visit