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AMA issues three new coronavirus lab codes, including Category I nasal swab immunoassay code

The AMA on June 25 issued three new CPT clinical lab codes – a new Category I microbiology code and two new proprietary “U” codes – to test patients for COVID-19.
All three codes took effect immediately, the AMA stated in a June 25 CPT Assistant article.
The Category I code, 87426, may be reported for multiple types of qualitative or semiqualitative immunoassay techniques.
Code 87426 may be reported for tests to detect not only SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) but also SARS-CoV (SARS), the AMA states.
The new code is a “child” code of microbiology code 87301. Here is the full description:
  • 87426 Infectious agent antigen detection by immunoassay technique, (eg, enzyme immunoassay [EIA], enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA], immunochemiluminometric assay [IMCA]) qualitative or semiquantitative, multiple-step method; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (eg, SARS-CoV, SARSCoV-2 [COVID-19]).
The test is for use on nasal swab specimens, the AMA stated.
The two new proprietary laboratory analyses (PLA) codes, 0223U and 0224U, allow more detailed analysis. For example, 0223U (Infectious disease [bacterial or viral respiratory tract infection], pathogen-specific nucleic acid [DNA or RNA], 22 targets including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 [SARS-CoV-2], qualitative RT-PCR, nasopharyngeal swab, each pathogen reported as detected or not detected) allows detection of multiple respiratory pathogens via nasal swab.
Code 0224U (Antibody, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 [SARSCoV-2] [Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)], includes titer[s], when performed) reports a test for qualitative and quantitative COVID antibodies in the blood and blood serum and may be used to find candidates with high titer against the virus.
PLA codes are specific to particular lab tests and may only be reported when those tests are performed, according to the AMA. For example, code 0224U is specific to this lab test: cQIAstat-Dx Respiratory SARS-CoV-2 Panel, manufactured by QIAGEN Sciences, QIAGEN GMbH.
Code 0224U may be reported only when this test is performed: cCOVID-19 Antibody Test, Mt Sinai, Mount Sinai Laboratory.
The new codes bring to six the number of COVID-related lab codes CPT has issued just this spring. The first code, 87635, released March 13, allowed for infectious agent detection by nucleic acid.
Two other codes, 86328 and 86769, which took effect April 10, report the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in the blood.
Blog Tags: AMA, COVID-19
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