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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.

The following standard terminologies (CPT®, HCPCS, ICD-10-CM, LOINC®, and SNOMED CT®) have added provisional, pre-release 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_2020-06-30 COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) Billing
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_2020-08-10 LOINC Prerelease Terms, Special Use Codes Only
A new version of LOINC (2.68) was recently released by Regenstrief. Prerelease Terms up through June 17 are now included in LOINC 2.68. Any LOINC Prerelease Terms created by LOINC after June 17 will remain available in VSAC as Provisional Codes.
SNOMED CT Provisional_2020-07-28 Pre-Release COVID-19 Related Content
These provisional codes were published as official codes in the July 2020 release of the SNOMED CT International Edition. Because VSAC hosts only the SNOMED CT US Edition, and not the international edition, these pre-release, provisional codes will continue in VSAC as provisional codes until the SNOMED CT US Edition is published in September 2020, at which point the provisional codes will likely become official codes of the US Edition.

*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

UPDATED July 2, 2020: How to Include Provisional Codes in Your Value Set

VSAC now includes provisional code system versions within the “Most Recent Code System Versions in VSAC” default expansion profile calculation. You no longer need to perform a special Expand/Publish step when you create value sets that include provisional codes.

We recommend you click Approve to produce your automatically updating “Latest” published value set expansion for your users.

The major benefit to this method is that you can use the value set’s “Latest” URL on web pages. This “Latest” URL will always be constant so you will not have to update the URL on your web pages when you update your value set.

Linking to the “Latest” expansion URL on your web pages will ensure that your users always connect to your correct value set expansion (code list) as the terminologies update and promote their provisional codes to official codes in official version releases. Here is an example of a “Latest” expansion URL:

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. It is critical that you Approve your value set for publication.

    save, submit and approve

  5. Click the Expansion/Publication tab if you wish to keep a specific expanded code list in addition to your automatically updated "Latest" version.

    expansion/publication tab

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

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

Last Reviewed: August 13, 2020