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Pulse Oximetry: Identifying Its Applications, Coding, and Reimbursement

Sam Birnbaum, BBA, CMPE
Author and Funding Information

*From Medical Practice Management, Hilton Head Island, SC.

Correspondence to: Sam Birnbaum, BBA, CMPE, Consultant, Medical Practice Management, 4 Coquina Road, Hilton Head Island, SC 29928; e-mail: sam@mypracticeconsultant.com


The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (www.chestjournal.org/misc/reprints.shtml).


Chest. 2009;135(3):838-841. doi:10.1378/chest.07-3127
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Although pulse oximetry is a widely accepted and frequently used tool, the reporting and reimbursement of the three related codes, 94760, 94761, and 94762, are often confusing. This commonly used noninvasive tool is a useful adjunct to medical care, but it is not always reimbursed separately. Sometimes referred to as the “fifth vital sign,” along with BP, heart rate, temperature, and respiration rate, pulse oximetry is used in a variety of health-care settings. Pulse oximetry is frequently a component of monitoring for other diagnostic studies and treatments commonly performed by pulmonologists, respiratory care practitioners, and other providers in many settings. Pulse oximetry is used to manage patients on long-term oxygen therapy and for the identification of patients with possible obstructive sleep apnea.


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