New coronavirus testing CPT code: What physicians need to know

March 17, 2020

A new current procedural terminology (CPT) code and description has been created for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) testing

A new current procedural terminology (CPT) code and description has been created for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) testing, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).

The CPT code is 87635, and is a child code listed beneath parent code for microbiology procedures (87471). The description of the code is:

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.

Because the code is new, healthcare organizations will need to manually upload it into their EHR systems.

“Due to the emergent nature of the public health concern surrounding novel coronavirus testing, the American Medical Association (AMA) Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Editorial Panel convened a special meeting and approved a new, specific CPT code to describe laboratory testing for [COVID-19],” the AMA’s coding fact sheet reads.

For a fact sheet that includes the code’s descriptor and purpose, a clinical example, a description of the procedure and frequently asked questions, please visit the AMA website.