Coronavirus: AMA Releases New CPT Code for Antigen Tests

COVID-19 Antigen Testing

The American Medical Association (AMA) has released an update to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), introducing a new code for reporting antigen testing of patients suspected to be infected with COVID-19. Approved on June 25 during a meeting of the CPT Editorial Panel, this update signifies a milestone in expediting the review of proposed changes and additions to the CPT code set.

Antigen testing, designed for speed and simplicity, can be performed at point-of-care. This advancement in testing holds potential as a solution for testing shortages, offering a more efficient approach to COVID-19 diagnosis.

AMA President, “The new CPT code for antigen testing to detect the coronavirus is the latest in a series of CPT codes developed in rapid response to the pandemic. Moving quickly during this crisis to meet the medical coding needs of the health care industry has enhanced the reporting of innovative tools now available to advance medicine’s overarching goals of reducing the COVID-19 disease burden, improving health outcomes and reducing long-term care costs.”

The newly introduced Category I CPT codes and their long descriptors are as follows:

• CPT Code 87426: Infectious agent antigen detection by immunoassay technique, qualitative or semiquantitative, multiple-step method; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (eg, SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19])

• Code 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

• CPT Code 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])

• CPT Code 86769: Antibody; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19])

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