COVID-19: Laboratory Claims Requiring the NPI of the Ordering/Referring Professional — Update

July 30, 2020
Policy Snapshot

During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) relaxed requirements for a limited number of laboratory tests required for a COVID-19 diagnosis. These tests do not require a practitioner order during the PHE. CMS added a new test to this list: CPT 87426 (infectious agent antigen detection by immunoassay technique, (e.g., enzyme immunoassay [EIA], enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA], immunochemiluminometric assay [IMCA]) qualitative or semiquantitative, multiple-step method; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (e.g., SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19]).

Any health care professional authorized under state law may order these tests. Medicare will pay for these tests without a written order from the treating physician or other practitioner:

  • If an order is not written, it is not necessary to provide the National Provider Identifier (NPI) of the ordering or referring professional on the claim
  • If an order is written, include the NPI of the ordering or referring professional, consistent with current billing guidelines

For more information: