AMA fast tracks coronavirus CPT code

March 10, 2020

The code is to be considered at a special CPT Editorial Panel this week.

A new current procedural terminology (CPT) code for reporting novel coronavirus (COVID-19) tests will be considered this week at a special CPT Editorial Panel meeting, according to a news release from the American Medical Association (AMA).

If the code is approved, it will fill the need for streamlined reporting of testing for to the outbreak currently making its way across the U.S., the release says.

“Moving as quickly as possible to put in place a CPT code for a novel coronavirus test will bolster a data-driven response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States,” AMA President Patrice A. Harris, MD, says in the release. “By streamlining the flow of information on novel coronavirus testing, a new CPT code facilitates the reporting, measuring, analyzing, researching, and benchmarking that is necessary to help guide the nation’s response to the public health emergency.”

The Editorial Panel, which is an independent body convened by the AMA, will manage the fast-tracked process and supply a test description to accompany the code and the effective date of the code, the release says.

The AMA has worked closely with leadership in the CDC and healthcare experts throughout the past few weeks to ensure the new CPT code will meet the demand for accurate reporting of a diagnostic test to detect the virus, the release says.

As of March 10, the coronavirus is present in every country in the European Union, with Italy having place the whole country on lockdown. In the U.S., anxiety continues to rise as the Trump administration focuses on financial stimulus while hundreds of cases of the virus have been confirmed and hospitals report shortages of proper respiratory masks, according to reporting from The New York Times.

The AMA offers more information on the coronavirus on their website at a resource center for physicians. The association has also produced a physician’s guide to the virus here.