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Load CPT code and description into OMOP vocabulary without using UMLS license


The cpt4.jar requires UMLS API key to download CPT-4 codes and descriptions under UMLS license. UMLS licenses are issued only to individuals and not to groups or organizations. I believe all healthcare organizations are licensed to use CPT codes. Is there another way to get CPT codes to OMOP vocabulary without using the personal UMLS license?

Thank you

Hello @jchang

As far as I know, there’s no such way, so you need to get the UMLS license

It should take you just a couple of minutes.

Daryna, thank you for your response.

That means I will use a personal UMLS license for this organizational OMOP project. Does anyone have a concern?

that’s totally OK


Yeah, it is a little complicated. Here is the deal:

  • The OHDSI Coordinating Center (Columbia) has a distribution license for CPT4, but only for the codes, not the descriptions.
  • In order to make it work for OMOP, collaborators have to contribute the descriptions themselves.
  • They could do that using their enterprise license, and then somehow cobble it together. But that would be a horrible mess.
  • The only other places you can get the descriptions electronically is the CMS and the UMLS.
  • UMLS licenses are easy to obtain, but personal.

So, we built the tool that uses the UMLS API and pulls out all the descriptions. But that requires the personal UMLS license. Bottom line: This is the easiest and most effective workaround we could think of.

You can ingest the CMS FFS physician fee schedules, which are released on a quarterly basis


Christian, thank you for sharing the details, I appreciate it. It is helpful for us to establish an appropriate process for the vocabulary maintenance after our OMOP database is deployed to production and managed under operational support.

I am not familiar with this, but thanks for your response.