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The American Medical Association said Tuesday it will hold a special meeting this week to consider a new administrative code for labs and providers to report novel coronavirus testing to insurers.
A specific code for coronavirus testing will help streamline reporting of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the AMA. The association's long-standing Current Procedural Terminology coding system is widely used to process insurance claims. The CMS also recently announced two billing codes to be used by laboratories when testing for the virus.
If approved, a new code would come as more private lab companies roll out tests for the virus.
The editorial panel of the Current Procedural Terminology system, which is appointed by the AMA board of trustees, will meet Friday to review the new code. The panel typically only meets three times a year but is holding a special session in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The AMA has met with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health experts over the last few weeks to ensure the test description accompanying the code is accurate.
In addition to claims processing, a standard novel coronavirus code can be used for research and resource planning down the line, according to AMA President Dr. Patrice Harris.
"By streamlining the flow of information on novel coronavirus testing, a new CPT code facilitates the reporting, measuring, analyzing, researching and benchmarking that is necessary to help guide the nation's response to the public health emergency," Harris said in a statement.
Testing has faced problems so far with the CDC running into hiccups with accuracy of its testing kits and adequate supplies. Paying for the costs of the test has also been a concern for patients. Insurers have been responding by waiving any copayments or deductibles.