Pulse oximetry: identifying its applications, coding, and reimbursement

Chest. 2009 Mar;135(3):838-841. doi: 10.1378/chest.07-3127.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Current Procedural Terminology*
  • Humans
  • Insurance, Health, Reimbursement*
  • Medicare
  • Oximetry* / economics
  • United States