With the country beginning to reopen and multiple states lifting their lockdown orders, coronavirus testing is as crucial as ever. To better facilitate COVID-19 procedures and testing throughout the pandemic, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new procedural codes.
Alongside the new codes, the AMA has also released a detailed set of guidelines for practitioners to use, covering situations that include telehealth calls, in-office testing, and laboratory testing. The guidelines span 18 different scenarios, the telehealth advice touching on both COVID-19 cases and unrelated cases.
In their April CPT Assistant document, AMA includes further guides and descriptions for the procedures attached to each code. For instance, 87365 is not a part of CPT 2020 publication and but will be automatically included in CPT 2021. The organization cites the continuing development of the disease as the prime reason behind the need for vigilant, repeated coding updates.
The AMA also states that all of their efforts and the changes, especially to Telehealth, have taken place while in coordination with the CMS. Over the course of the pandemic, CMS has updated several of its regulations regarding Telehealth, including adding payment parity for telephone visits just last week and opening up the list of approved Telehealth services for provider suggestions.