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AMA Announces New CPT Codes for COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

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(AMA published an update to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code set that includes two code additions for reporting medical services sparked by the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CPT codes for COVID-19, CPT code 99072, CPT code 86413

AMA Announces New CPT Codes for COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

On September 8, 2020, The American Medical Association (AMA) published an update to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code set that includes two code additions for reporting medical services sparked by the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 99072 Additional supplies, materials, and clinical staff time over and above those usually included in an office visit or other non-facility service(s), when performed during a Public Health Emergency, as defined by law, due to respiratory-transmitted infectious disease.

  • 86413 Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) antibody, quantitative.

The first addition, CPT code 99072, was approved in response to sweeping measures adopted by medical practices and health care organizations to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), while safely providing patients with access to high-quality care during in-person interactions with healthcare professionals.

Expanded guidance from CPT indicates that code 99072:

  • Reports the provision of additional supplies, such as face masks and cleaning supplies
  • Reports clinical staff time for activities such as pre-visit instructions and office arrival symptom checks
  • Is reported only once per in-person patient encounter, per day, regardless of the number of services rendered at that encounter
  • May be reported when the additional clinical staff duties are performed by the physician or other qualified healthcare, professional in lieu of clinical staff

The second addition, CPT code 86413, was approved in response to the development of laboratory tests that provide quantitative measurements of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, as opposed to a qualitative assessment (positive/negative) of SAR-CoV-2 antibodies provided by laboratory tests reported by other CPT codes. By measuring antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the tests reported by 86413 can investigate a person’s adaptive immune response to the virus and help access the effectiveness of treatments used against the infection.

The COVID-19 Coding and Guidance web page on the AMA website features coding guidance and other resources related to the use of these and previously released CPT codes for COVID-19 reporting.

The web page can be accessed at the following link:

https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/cpt/covid-19-coding-and-guidance

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question: How does code 86413 differ from codes 8 6769 and 86328, two other recently approved SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing codes?

Answer: Codes 86769, Antibody; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]), and 86328, Immunoassay for infectious agent antibody(ies), qualitative or semiquantitative, single-step method (eg, reagent strip); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]), are both reported as qualitative or semiquantitative assays; code 86413 is reported as a quantitative assay.

Question: Code 99072 is stated as being applicable “during a PHE.” What information should be used to verify when a PHE is in effect?

Answer: A PHE is in effect when declared by law by the officially designated relevant public health authority(ies).

Question: For what type of patient encounters or services should code 99072 be reported?

Answer: Code 99072 may be reported with an in-person patient encounter for an office visit or other non-facility service, in which the implemented guidelines related to mitigating the transmission of the respiratory disease for which the PHE was declared are required. Use of this code is not dependent on a specific patient diagnosis. For a list of POS codes with facility/non-facility designations that are available in the Medicare Claims Processing Manual, visit https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Coding/ place-of-service-codes.

Question: What documentation is required to report code 99072?

Answer: Given that code 99072 may only be reported during a PHE, one would not report this
code in conjunction with an evaluation and management (E/M) service or procedure when a PHE is not in effect. Therefore, code 99072 is reported justifiably only when health and safety conditions applicable to a PHE require the type of supplies and additional clinical staff time explained in the code descriptor. Documentation requirements may vary among third-party payers and insurers; therefore, they should be contacted to determine their specifications.

Question: May code 99072 be reported with code 99070?

Answer: Yes, code 99072 may be reported with code 99070 when the requirements for both codes have been met. Note that eligibility for payment, as well as coverage policy, is determined by each individual insurer or third-party payer.

Source: CPT Assistant Special Edition: September 2020 Update

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