HPC Corner: COVID Specific CPT Codes Released

By: Colin Segovis, MD, PhD, MRMD (MRSC™)

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to us and our patients.  The AMA has recently released a set of COVID-19 specific codes designed to reflect current practice including the new services and extra effort that the pandemic has created in current medical practice.   These new codes are to be published in the 2021 code set with individual codes being retroactive into 2020.  The entire code set and related guidance can be viewed via this link.

As can be seen, most of these codes describe novel tests associated with detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SAR-CoV-2) but the CPT panel also understands that additional supplies and clinical time are required to mitigate COVID-19 transmission thus code 99072 was created as a mechanism to report this extra effort and time.  Per the AMA, the descriptor for the code 90072 is:

“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.”

How this code will be used in practice and potential reimbursement is an evolving issue.  It is recommended that practices discuss use of any of these CPT codes with their coding team to ensure appropriate use.  The AMA has provided several resources to assist in correct coding.  These resources can be found on the AMA’s website and in a special addition of the CPT Assistant that can be viewed via this link.

Your CPT and RUC teams continue to monitor this effort.