The constant threat of coronavirus has led the panel of AMA – The American Medical Association to introduce CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) codes for medical billing services.
As the number of infected cases in the USA increased, the need for a separate code for COVID-19 testing emerged. The president of AMA, Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, announced a unique code to report for laboratory testing of the coronavirus. This information was released on March 13, 2020, in order to translate the advantages of tracking, allocating, and optimizing resources.
What’s New for Medical Billing Services Regarding Corona Test Coding?
The coronavirus code belongs to a new category I of CPT codes. The details are 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]), for the examination technique
The codes are now available to use to report on behalf of physicians by the medical billing companies. This code also has short and medium descriptors, which can be accessed on the official AMA website – https://www.ama-assn.org/practice-management/cpt/cpt-releases-new-coronavirus-covid-19-code-description-testing
Coronavirus around the Globe
The situation of the novel coronavirus is serious. President Trump has declared a national emergency in the USA, and the only way to stay safe is by maintaining the social distance.
The Healthcare industry, in almost every country, is under pressure to combat the seriousness of coronavirus pandemic. The number one step for managing this catastrophe is by dealing with hundreds and even thousands of diagnostics procedures, and this code will help deal with the billing matters.
Rick A. Bright, Ph.D., director of Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) at HHS stressed the need of increasing the capacity of testing kits to identify and separate infected individuals as early as possible.
There have been delays reported in terms of accessing the diagnostic procedures of COVID-19. The delays and shortage in facilities may affect the frontline fighters (physicians), and ultimately potential patients.
According to AMA, the newly released code is a progressive step towards optimal coronavirus diagnostic services. All along, the physician or medical billing company is required to use the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes to document public encounters with the health payment programs as Medicare.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) also stated to create two new HCPCS codes to support the coronavirus diagnostic procedure.
The first code released in February (U0001) is for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests performed specifically for CDC testing laboratories.
The second billing code (U0002) released this month will extend medical billing services for coronavirus lab tests, allowing to bill for non-CDC laboratory tests for SARS-CoV-2/2019-nCoV, (novel coronavirus or COVID-19).
QPP MIPS requests everyone to stay strong and be mindful of others around you. Spend this difficult time to connect with yourself and be creative while staying home. You never know who carries the virus therefore, use hand sanitizers, clean your space, wear gloves, and face mask before going out and keep a safe distance from everyone.