New CPT Code Announced to Report Novel Coronavirus Test

Chicago, March 13, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The American Medical Association (AMA) today announced that the CPT Editorial Panel approved a new addition to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code set that will help streamline data-driven resource and allocation planning in the battle against the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in the United States.

“In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CPT Editorial Panel has expedited approval of a unique CPT code to report laboratory testing services that diagnose the presence of the novel coronavirus,” said AMA President Patrice A. Harris, M.D., M.A. “The new CPT code assigned to the test for the novel coronavirus provides analytical advantages for tracking, allocating and optimizing resources as testing ramps up in the United States.”

For quick reference, the new Category I CPT code and long descriptor are:

  • 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

The code is effective immediately for use as the industry standard for reporting of tests for the novel coronavirus across the nation’s health care system. In addition to the long descriptor, CPT code 87635 has short and medium descriptors that can be accessed on the AMA website.

The CPT Editorial Panel, the independent body convened by the AMA with sole authority to manage revisions to the CPT code set, expedited the code development process for the novel coronavirus test. Development, review and approval of the new CPT code involved broad input from practicing physicians, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other experts.

The AMA continues to invest in resources that keep physicians informed of the CDC’s guidance and updates, including the recent launch of the AMA’s Physician’s Guide to COVID-19, a quick-start reference to help physicians and their practices prepare for the pandemic. This is an expanded, downloadable and shareable version of resources available on the AMA’s COVID-19 resource center for physicians. Additionally, the AMA’s JAMA Network™ has a comprehensive overview of the novel coronavirus—including epidemiology, infection control and prevention recommendations—available on its JN Learning website.

Editor’s Note: CPT © Copyright 2020 American Medical Association. All rights reserved. AMA and CPT are registered trademarks of the American Medical Association.

About the AMA
The American Medical Association is the powerful ally and unifying voice for America’s physicians, the patients they serve, and the promise of a healthier nation. The AMA attacks the dysfunction in health care by removing obstacles and burdens that interfere with patient care. It reimagines medical education, training, and lifelong learning for the digital age to help physicians grow at every stage of their careers, and it improves the health of the nation by confronting the increasing chronic disease burden. For more information, visit

Robert J. Mills
American Medical Association 

ASGE Releases Recommendations for Endoscopy Units in the Era of COVID-19

DOWNERS GROVE, IL / ACCESSWIRE / March 13, 2020 / The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has released an important article in its signature publication, the Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (GIE) journal. The article, titled Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak: What the Department of Endoscopy Should Know, is written by ASGE member, Dr Alessandro Repici and his colleagues who have first-hand experience and are still in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis in Italy.

Endoscopy is a place where patients and physicians have very close distance and physicians are exposed to splashes, mucus or saliva during procedures especially upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy. Moreover oral-fecal transmission has been postulated as a potential route for COVID-19 transmission. Endoscopy is also a place with significant concentration of people (staff, patients, caregivers, relatives, etc.) This is why establishing detailed and strict rules is of paramount importance to protect both personnel and patients.Untitled

Even though health care personnel working in endoscopy units are not directly involved in the diagnostic and therapeutic evaluation of COVID-19 positive patients, endoscopy should still be regarded as a risky procedure. This risk of exposure and subsequent infection of endoscopy personnel is, in fact, substantial in cases of patients with respiratory disease that can be spread via an airborne route.

The risk of exposure of endoscopy personnel is also not limited to upper endoscopy procedures, considering the recent detection of SARS-CoV in biopsy specimens and stools, suggesting a possible fecal-oral transmission. This could be even more relevant given that the virus transmission can occur during the incubation period in asymptomatic patients.

Establishing infection prevention measures and guidelines within an endoscopy department is essential for creating a high-quality and extremely safe environment to protect both patients and personnel. In this new era of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is imperative that these measures be implemented and maintained to avoid further spread of the disease.

“We recognize that ASGE members and their patients globally need to be diligent in maintaining individual health while minimizing disruption to day-to-day endoscopic practices and overall regional economies,” said John Vargo, MD, FASGE, President of ASGE. “It is a challenging time for the whole world, and endoscopists and physicians have the additional responsibility of protecting both patients and their own well-being.”

Read the GIE article.

ASGE would like to express its appreciation to the authors for sharing their first-hand experience with other medical professionals around the world. They are currently in the middle of providing critical patient care at their medical institution, but felt it was important to also share their knowledge to minimize the global impact of this outbreak.

About the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy

Since its founding in 1941, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) has been dedicated to advancing patient care and digestive health by promoting excellence and innovation in gastrointestinal endoscopy. ASGE, with more than 15,000 members worldwide, promotes the highest standards for endoscopic training and practice, fosters endoscopic research, recognizes distinguished contributions to endoscopy, and is the foremost resource for endoscopic education. Visit and for more information and to find a qualified doctor in your area.

For more information, contact:

Andrea Lee
Director of Marketing and Communications
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
3300 Woodcreek Dr.
Downers Grove, IL 60515

SOURCE: American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy