QUESTION: What are the differences between conscious sedation codes and the anesthesia codes?

ANSWER: Codes 99141 and 99142 are used to report conscious sedation (sedation with or without analgesia) when the physician performing the procedure also administers the sedation. Code 99141 is used when the sedation/analgesia agents are administered parenterally or by inhalation; 99142 when administered by the oral, rectal or intranasal route. The anesthesia codes (00100-01999) are used to report anesthetic administration in support of a procedure provided by another physician. The administering physician does not necessarily have to be the anesthesiologist. In addition to administering the anesthesia, the anesthesia codes include pre- and post-operative visits, administration of fluids and usual patient monitoring (e.g., vital signs, pulse oximetry). The conscious sedation codes include pre- and postprocedure evaluation as well as patient monitoring. The conscious sedation codes also require that a trained observer (e.g., nurse or physician assistant) be present to assist the physician who is performing the procedure in monitoring the patient's vital signs and level of consciousness. Documentation of the pre- and postprocedure evaluation and patient monitoring is required. The pulse oximetry codes, 94760-94762, also are included in the conscious sedation codes and may not be reported separately.

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