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Innovative work to meet the urgent public health need for streamlined reporting and tracking of COVID-19 vaccinations is presented in the release of the 2022 set published by the American Medical Association (AMA). The annual update to the CPT code set incorporates a series of 15 vaccine-specific codes that are the model for efficiently reporting and tracking immunizations and administrative services against the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).
Working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop vaccine-specific CPT codes, the AMA introduced the first codes in the series for use in November 2020 to clinically distinguish each coronavirus vaccine and dosing schedule for better tracking, reporting, and analysis of patient vaccinations. These CPT codes were available prior to the public availability of the COVID-19 vaccines to facilitate updating of health care electronic systems across the United States.
“Data-driven planning and resource allocation is vital for effective immunization programs that will bring the coronavirus pandemic to an end,” says AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD. “Correlating each coronavirus vaccine and dosing schedule with its own unique CPT code has provided necessary analytical advantages to help track, allocate and optimize resources for immunization programs across the United States.”
To help ensure accurate coding and reporting of COVID-19 vaccines and administration services, the AMA offers a vaccine code finder resource to help identify the appropriate CPT code combination for the type and dose of COVID-19 vaccine provided to each patient. The 2022 CPT code set also includes an appendix for one-stop access to all the codes for COVID-19 vaccine reporting.
Other Changes to the CPT Code Set
The COVID-19 vaccine and administration codes are among 405 editorial changes in the 2022 CPT code set, including 249 new codes, 63 deletions, and 93 revisions. The CPT code set continues to see growth in new and novel areas of medicine with 43% of editorial changes tied to new technology services described in Category III CPT codes and the continued expansion of the Proprietary Laboratory Analyses section of the CPT code set.
Changes to the CPT code set are considered through an open editorial process managed by the CPT Editorial Panel, an independent body convened by the AMA that collects broad input from the health care community and beyond to ensure CPT content reflects the coding demands of digital health, precision medicine, augmented intelligence, and other aspects of a modern health care system. This rigorous editorial process keeps the CPT code set current with contemporary medical science and technology so it can fulfill its vital role as the trusted language of medicine today and the code to its future.
Other important additions to the 2022 CPT code set respond to the fast pace of innovation in digital medicine services that can improve health care access and enhance outcomes for patients across the country. This is illustrated by the creation of five new CPT codes (98975, 98976, 98977, 98980, 98981) to report therapeutic remote monitoring, an increasingly important avenue of patient care especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. These codes expand on the remote physiologic monitoring codes that were created in 2020 (99453, 99454, 99457, 99458).
As innovative digital medicine services have quickly expanded in recent years, the CPT code set has responded with a unique educational guide. A new appendix included in the 2022 CPT code set provides a taxonomy for digital medicine services that supports increased awareness and understanding of approaches to patient care through the multifaceted digital medicine services available for reporting in the CPT code set.
The CPT Editorial Panel also created new codes for principal care management (99424, 99425, 99426, 99427), which allow physicians and qualified health care professionals to report care management services for patients with one complex chronic condition. Medicare policy for principal care management services has been evolving and the new CPT codes, along with revisions to existing CPT codes for care management, better align with Medicare guidelines. These CPT changes add to nearly a decade of coding content work that respond to the reporting needs of physicians and others who help manage the chronic conditions of America’s aging population.
CPT Content & Resources
To assist the health care system in an orderly annual transition to a newly modified CPT code set, the AMA releases each new edition four months ahead of the January 1 operational date and develops an insider’s view with detailed information on the new changes in the 2022 CPT code set.
The AMA invites the health care community to stay up to date on the significant CPT code changes for 2022 by attending two virtual events this November, the Outpatient CDI Workshop and the CPT and RBRVS 2022 Annual Symposium. Meeting agendas and registration are available on the AMA website.
For more information, a special section for CPT education has been created for the AMA Ed Hub, an online learning platform containing CME and education, including a module series covering an overview of CPT coding basics and other topics.
Coding books and products, including the CPT Professional 2022 codebook, are available from the AMA Storefront on Amazon. The 2022 CPT codes and descriptors can be imported straight into existing health care software solution using the downloadable CPT 2022 Data File. The file contains the updated code set’s complete descriptor package, including official descriptors for consumers and physicians, and the complete official CPT coding guidelines. The 2022 CPT coding content will also be included in an enhanced CPT/SNOMED CT map that links similar concepts shared by the two terminologies. The map is intended for use by organizations seeking to leverage both terminologies for research, population health, billing, and analytics.