CMS creates new HCPCS Level II code for novel coronavirus lab test

February 24, 2020
Medicare Web

CMS announced February 13 that it created a new HCPCS Level II laboratory testing code for SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Medicare’s claims processing system will be able to accept this code on April 1 for dates of service on or after February 4. 

Providers who test patients for SARS-CoV-2 using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Reverse Transcriptase Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) Diagnostic Test Panel may bill for the test using new HCPCS code U0001. It may be ordered for the presumptive detection of COVID-19 in individuals who meet the CDC’s criteria for testing.

The HCPCS code enables laboratories to bill for the test instead of using an unspecified code. According to CMS, the use of this code will allow for better tracking for this new strain of coronavirus and aid public health initiatives to protect people from its spread.

Earlier this month, CMS provided guidance for Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-certified laboratories on how to use the RT-PCR Diagnostic Test Panel.