AMA releases new COVID-19 and flu combo codes

October 12, 2020
Medicare Web

The American Medical Association (AMA) released two new CPT codes October 7 for reporting antigen tests that detect the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and influenza.

Effective immediately, coders may report the following new laboratory CPT codes:

  • 87636, infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and influenza virus types A and B, multiplex amplified probe technique
  • 87637, infectious agent detection by nucleic acid (DNA or RNA); SARS-CoV-2, influenza virus types A and B, and respiratory syncytial virus, multiplex amplified probe technique

The new codes describe nucleic acid assays that simultaneously detect COVID-19 and a combination of common viral infectious agents, including influenza virus types A and B (the two most common types of influenza), and respiratory syncytial virus. According to AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD, concurrent detection of COVID-19 and influenza will conserve important testing resources and allow for ongoing surveillance of influenza during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The AMA’s CPT Editorial Panel also made changes to CPT codes 87301-87430, removing the term “multi-step method” from code descriptors to distinguish between antigen tests that are read by a machine and those that are visually interpreted.