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Pathology/Lab Coding Alert

Differentiate Swine Flu Confirmatory Tests

Public health rules guide fee-exempt testing. Standard flu tests are not the end of the line this year. Your lab may send out -- or perform -- surveillance tests for the novel influenza A (H1N1) outbreak. Lacking a Food and Drug Administration (FDA)- approved test for the novel H1N1 virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed and issued emergency use authorization (EUA) for such a test. The EUA expires April 26, 2010, or when the CDC revokes it, whichever is earlier. "Mainly public health labs perform these tests to confirm H1N1 infection," says Peggy Slagle, CPC, billing compliance coordinator at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Break Down Guidelines for Public Health Testing If your lab performs novel influenza A (H1N1) confirmatory testing in a public health capacity, you won't bill for the test. "That's why labs don't currently use a CPT code to report the CDC-developed [...]