April 15, 2020

AMA Approves CPT Codes for COVID-19 Antibody Testing

The American Medical Association (AMA) announced April 10 that it has revised existing Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code 86318 Immunoassay for infectious agent antibody(ies), qualitative or semiquantitative, single step method (eg, reagent strip) and approved two new codes to report SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) antibody testing.

The codes were expedited by the CPT Editorial Panel in response to the urgent need for the reporting and tracking of antibody testing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CPT Editorial Panel convened a second teleconference meeting within a month to establish new codes to report COVID-19 testing. The panel had already met via teleconference in March to establish code 87635 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 (effective March 13) as previously reported by Advocacy in Action.

Effective immediately, the following codes can be reported for COVID-19 antibody testing:

  • 86328 Immunoassay for infectious agent antibody(ies), qualitative or semiquantitative, single step method (eg, reagent strip); severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19])
  • 86769 Antibody; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19])

Per the standard early release delivery process for CPT codes, note that the code descriptor will need to be manually uploaded into electronic health record systems. In addition to the long descriptor, codes 86328 and 86769 have short and medium descriptors that can be accessed on the AMA website.

The CPT codes will be included in the complete CPT code set for 2021 later this year.