The American Medical Association (AMA) has created two new Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for multi-virus testing to detect COVID-19 and influenza.
The new codes, which have been approved for immediate use, are:
- 87636: Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) and influenza virus types A and B, multiplex amplified probe technique.
- 87637: Infectious agent detection by 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, multiplex amplified probe technique.
“Two of the newly approved codes report nucleic acid assays that allow a single test to simultaneously detect the novel coronavirus and a combination of common viral infectious agents, including influenza A/B and respiratory syncytial virus,” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD, an allergist who practices in Fort Worth.
Flu season is right around the corner, and a flu vaccine already is being administered across Texas. Physicians are encouraged to remind patients to receive a vaccine as soon as possible.
In addition, AMA also revised CPT codes 87301 through 87430 to remove the term “multi-step method” from code descriptors, including CPT code 87426, which AMA has said is the “industry standard” for COVID-19 antigen testing.
“The revision clarifies the proper reporting for antigen tests that are read by a machine, as compared to those which can be visually interpreted without a machine,” AMA said.
AMA also has created new codes to streamline COVID-19 testing, including “a new code to describe the additional supplies and clinical staff time required to mitigate transmission of respiratory infectious disease while providing evaluation, treatment, or procedural services during a public health emergency.”
AMA in September 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.
You can find more tools, resources, and information on the practice viability section of the TMA COVID-19 Resource Center.
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