AMA Creates CPT Code for Coronavirus Test
By Ellen Terry


The American Medical Association has created a Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code, 87635, to report laboratory testing services that diagnose the presence of the novel coronavirus.

The code, effective immediately, is defined as follows:

87635 Infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]), amplified probe technique.

To report this early-release code, labs will need to upload the code descriptor into their electronic health record (EHR) system manually (the code will become part of the complete 2021 CPT code set to be released later this year).

This CPT code release follows the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ creation of two new Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes for labs for testing patients for coronavirus. 

  • HCPCS code U0001 is used specifically for CDC testing laboratories to test patients for the coronavirus.
  • HCPCS code U0002 allows laboratories to bill for non-CDC laboratory tests for the virus. 

The Medicare system will be able to accept claims with these codes on April 1, 2020, for dates of service on or after Feb. 4, 2020.

You can find the latest news, resources, and government guidance on the coronavirus outbreak by visiting TMA’s COVID-19 Resource Center regularly.

Last Updated On

March 17, 2020

Originally Published On

March 17, 2020

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