New Code Accounts for Certain Additional Expenses During Public Health Emergencies
By David Doolittle


The American Medical Association (AMA) has released a Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code for reporting additional practice expenses incurred during a public health emergency (PHE), including the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The new code, 99072, allows for the “provision of evaluation, treatment or procedural services during a public health emergency in a setting where extra precautions are taken to ensure the safety of patients as well as health care professionals,” AMA said. It is not dependent on a specific diagnosis, AMA said. 

According to AMA, the code is intended to account for expenses such as: 

  • Time beyond what is included in the primary service of clinical staff time to conduct a pre-visit phone call to screen the patient (symptom check), provide instructions on social distancing during the visit, check patients for symptoms upon arrival, apply and remove PPE, and perform additional cleaning of the examination/procedure/imaging rooms, equipment, and supplies;
  • Three surgical masks; and
  • Cleaning supplies, including additional quantities of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, sprays, and cleansers. 

Physicians should check with individual health plans to determine whether the new code will be covered. 

The new code differs from supplies code 99070, which focuses on additional supplies usually included with a specific service, such as drugs, intravenous catheters, or trays, AMA said. Also new code 99072 is reported only during a PHE. 

AMA has approved new CPT codes throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to help physicians and other health care professionals treat and test patients

In addition, AMA last week released its 2021 CPT code set, which includes major revisions to office and other outpatient evaluation and management (E&M) services designed to decrease physician documentation requirements.  

On Jan. 31, Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, declared a public health emergency related to COVID-19, which remains in effect

You can find more tools, resources, and information on the practice viability section of the TMA COVID-19 Resource Center

CPT copyright American Medical Association. All rights reserved. 

Last Updated On

September 10, 2020

Originally Published On

September 10, 2020

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David Doolittle


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Dave Doolittle is editor of Texas Medicine and Texas Medicine Today. Dave grew up in Austin, where he attended culinary school as well as the University of Texas. He spent years covering Central Texas for the Austin American-Statesman newspaper. He is the father of two girls, a proud Longhorn, and an avid motorsports fan.

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