Skip Navigation Bar
NLM logo

VSAC Support Center

Provisional Codes in Value Sets

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, VSAC has adapted to our users' needs for provisional codes that several standard terminologies are currently producing and frequently updating.

As of 5/08/2020, the following standard terminologies (CPT®, HCPCS, LOINC®, and SNOMED CT®) have added provisional codes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the most up to date information available at the time of their creation:
Code System VSAC Code System Version* Additional Information
CPT Provisional_2020-04-20 CPT COVID-19 coding and guidance
HCPCS Provisional_2020-03-26 CMS Develops Additional Code for Coronavirus Lab Tests, 3/5/2020
ICD-10-CM Provisional_2020-03-26 New ICD-10-CM code for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), Effective: 3/18/2020
LOINC Provisional_2020-05-26 LOINC Prerelease Terms, Special Use Codes Only
SNOMED CT Provisional_2020-05-20 Pre-Release COVID-19 Related Content

*The “VSAC Code System Version” designation is a VSAC-created element based on the VSAC acquisition date of the provisional codes. Each provisional code system version contains all provisional codes, cumulatively, until the terminology incorporates their provisional codes into a formal release.

Be aware that downstream users may not be ready to handle prerelease codes until they are published in an official terminology release.

The SNOMED CT US Edition 20200301 included COVID-19 related codes in the formal release. The INTERIM March 2020 International Edition release, created as part of the ongoing global effort to tackle the Coronavirus outbreak, provided updated Coronavirus descriptions for Members and implementers. VSAC updated the SNOMED CT US Edition 20200301 descriptions accordingly, on 04/03/2020. See SNOMED CT COVID-19 Related Content--Released & Published Content

Include Provisional Codes in Your Value Set

The most important thing to remember, when you are building your value set using provisional codes, are the last steps (5, 6, and 7, below) where you must:

  • Expand/Publish your value set using the appropriate Expansion Profile calculation: "Provisional and Most Recent Code System Versions in VSAC"
  • You must use this method for individual (member) value sets that contain provisional codes
  • You must use this method for grouping value sets that contain member value sets with provisional codes

Any questions? Please Contact Us!

Here are the steps you need to take in the Authoring Tool of VSAC (Authoring Permissions are a Prerequisite)

  1. Choose the provisional code system version to search for and select your desired codes.

    choose provisional version

  2. Read the provisional code disclaimer.


  3. Search, select, and add your desired codes to your value set.

    search, select and add provisional codes

  4. Save your value set, and then Submit and Approve it as well.

    save, submit and approve

  5. Click the Expansion/Publication tab.

    expansion/publication tab

  6. Choose Expansion Profile = "Provisional with Most Recent Code System Versions in VSAC".

    choose provisional expansion profile

  7. Click the Expand/Publish button to publish your value set into the public repository, "Search Value Sets".

    expand and publish provisional codes

Last Reviewed: May 26, 2020