Knowledge Expansion

Screening Patients for Contagious Disease or Possible Exposure to Coronavirus

Insight Article

Compliance Regulations

Population Health

Policies & Procedures

MGMA Staff Members
The Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a respiratory illness that recently emerged in Wuhan City, China, and has spread to several continents and countries, including the United States and Canada.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), clinical features and epidemiologic risk for 2019-nCoV include the following:
  • Fever or signs of lower respiratory illness and close contact with a laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCoV patient within 14 days of symptom onset
  • Fever and signs of a lower respiratory illness and a chistory of travel from Hubei Province, China, within 14 days of symptom onset
  • Fever and signs of a lower respiratory illness requiring hospitalization and a history of travel from mainland China within 14 days of symptom onset.

Coronavirus Diagnostic Process for Medical Practices

If you need a quick screening tool to detect the presence of coronavirus and other contagious respiratory diseases, MGMA has a two-page PDF to help you and your staff follow a brief but effective diagnostic process for screening patients for possible contagious diseases. The CDC also recommends discussing with public health departments on a case-by-case basis.

To access the PDF, click the “Download Now” button below.

Additionally, the CDC recommends the following steps for identifying and assessing potential exposure to 2019-nCoV:
  • Identify if a patient has a history of travel to China or close contact with someone known to have 2019-nCoV illness, as well as fever or symptoms of lower respiratory illness.
If exposure and illness are both present, the CDC recommends these three steps:
  1. Isolate: Place a facemask on the patient, isolate the patient in a private room or separate area, and wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
  2. Assess clinical status: Exam the patient for fever, either subjective or measured. Note if respiratory illness is present (cough or shortness of breath).
  3. Inform: Contact your health department to report an at-risk patient and his/her clinical status. Assess the ned to collect specimens to test for 2019-nCoV, and decide disposition.
If a patient is discharged to home, the CDC also recommends:
  • Instrucing the patient, as needed, depending on severity of illness and health department consultation for home care and/or home isolation guidance.
  • Advising the patient, should fever or repiratory illness develop or worsen, to call to clinic for determining the need for reevaluation and/or the need to wear facemask during reevaluation.

If you need to inform the CDC of a suspected case, go here to access the 2019-nCoV PUI case investigation form.

For more information, visit the frequently asked questions page of the CDC. For additional resources related to Coronavirus, SARS, and MERS, please visit

To support this and other work affecting practice management, join MGMA today.

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