The new codes describe nucleic acid assays that simultaneously detect COVID-19 and a combination of common viral infectious agents, including influenza virus types A and B.
A version of this article was first published October 12, 2020, by HCPro's Revenue Cycle Advisor, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders.
The American Medical Association (AMA) released two new CPT codes October 7 for reporting antigen tests that detect the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and influenza.
Effective immediately, coders may report the following new laboratory CPT codes:
- 87636, infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and influenza virus types A and B, multiplex amplified probe technique
- 87637, infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); SARS-CoV-2, influenza virus types A and B, and respiratory syncytial virus, multiplex amplified probe technique
The new codes describe nucleic acid assays that simultaneously detect COVID-19 and a combination of common viral infectious agents, including influenza virus types A and B (the two most common types of influenza), and respiratory syncytial virus. According to AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD, concurrent detection of COVID-19 and influenza will conserve important testing resources and allow for ongoing surveillance of influenza during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The AMA’s CPT Editorial Panel also made changes to CPT codes 87301-87430, removing the term “multi-step method” from code descriptors to distinguish between antigen tests that are read by a machine and those that are visually interpreted.
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