The American Medical Association (AMA) posted an update to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code set, which includes the new code expansions and editorial modifications for reporting medical services prompted by the public health response COVID-19 pandemic.
The CPT Editorial Panel organized by the AMA with the power to evaluate and authorize proposed expansions and modifications to the CPT code set, confirmed the update to the CPT code set. The CPT code set’s new additions and changes have been authorized for immediate use.
“Two of the recently approved codes report nucleic acid assays that allow a new test to identify the novel coronavirus as well as a mixture of common viral bacterial infections, such as influenza A/B and respiratory syncytial virus,” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, M.D. “Simultaneous detection guarantees to save valuable testing assets by allowing for continuing influenza surveillance while trying to test for the novel coronavirus.”
For your convenience, the new category I CPT codes and long descriptors are as follows:
87636 Nucleic acid detection of infectious agents (DNA or RNA); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) Multiplex magnified probe method, and influenza virus forms A and B.
87637 Multiplex amplified probe method for infectious agent identification using nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]), influenza virus types A and B, and respiratory syncytial virus.
The CPT Editorial Board also changed CPT codes 87301 through 87430 by discarding the unspecified term “multi step method” from code descriptors. The modification clarifies proper reporting for antigen exams that are read by a device versus those that can be graphically perceived without using a machine. This revised version affects the recently developed CPT code 87426 descriptor.
87426 Infectious agent antigen detection using immunoassay techniques (e.g., enzyme immunoassay [EIA], enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA], fluorescence immunoassay [FIA], immunochemiluminometric assay [IMCA]) that are either qualitative or semi quantitative; SARS coronavirus (e.g., SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19])
The CPT Editorial Panel announced a new category I code, 87811, to notify infectious agent antigen tracking by immunoassay with straightforward visual observation in conformance with the above revision.
87811 Serious acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antigen detection by immunoassay with direct optical (i.e., visual) observation (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19])
In addition to long descriptors, the AMA website has short and medium descriptors for CPT codes 87636, 87637, 87426, and 87811 and several other recent changes to the CPT code set that have assisted simplify the public health response to the SAR-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 disease.
Modification to the CPT code set is regarded through an open editorial process overseen by the CPT Editorial Panel, which gathers broad input from the healthcare system and beyond to make sure CPT content demonstrates the coding requirements of digital health, accuracy medicine, augmented intelligence, and other elements of a current healthcare system. This strict editorial process keeps the CPT code set up to date with modern medical science and technology, allowing it to fulfil its critical role as the reliable language of medicine and the code for the future.
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