Coverage Policies

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Effective Date: 01/01/2005 Title: Outpatient Pulmonary Rehabilitation
Revision Date: 08/28/2023 Document: BI112:00
CPT Code(s): 94625, 94262, S9473
Public Statement

Effective Date:

a)    This policy will apply to all services performed on or after the above revision date which will become the new effective date.

b)    For all services referred to in this policy that were performed before the revision date, contact customer service for the rules that would apply.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is a structured outpatient program, directed by physicians and therapists, designed to improve tolerance to activities of daily living. Pulmonary rehabilitation is normally covered under the limitation of the Physical Therapy / Occupational Therapy benefit – and the number of visits is limited by the limitations of this benefit. Additional treatments are not covered unless specifically pre-authorized by QualChoice.

Coverage for pulmonary rehabilitation does not include rental/purchase of exercise equipment or memberships in health/exercise clubs.

Medical Statement

Entry into a medically supervised outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation program is considered medically necessary when all of the following criteria are met:

  1. Member has chronic pulmonary disease (including asthma (J45.50-J45.51), emphysema (J43.0-J43.9), chronic bronchitis (J41.0-J42), chronic airflow obstruction (J44.0-J44.9), cystic fibrosis (E84.0), alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (E88.01), pneumoconiosis (J60-J66.8), asbestosis (J61), radiation pneumonitis (J70.0), pulmonary fibrosis (J84.10), pulmonary alveolar proteinases (J84.01), pulmonary hemosiderosis (J84.03), fibro sing alveolitis(J84.112)); and
  2. Member has a reduction of exercise tolerance which restricts the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADL) and/or work; and
  3. Member does not have a recent history of smoking or has quit smoking for at least 6 months; and
  4. Member has a moderate to moderately severe functional pulmonary disability as evidenced by either of the following:
    • Pulmonary function tests showing that either the FEV1, FVC, FEV1/FVC, or Dlco is less than 60 % of that predicted; or
    • A maximal pulmonary exercise stress test under optimal bronchodilator treatment which demonstrates a respiratory limitation to exercise with a maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) equal to or less than 20 ml/kg/min, or about 5 metabolic equivalents (METS); and
  5. Member does not have any concomitant medical condition that would otherwise imminently contribute to deterioration of pulmonary status or undermine the expected benefits of the program (e.g., symptomatic coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction within the last 6 months, dysrhythmia, active joint disease, claudication, malignancy).

A typical course of pulmonary rehabilitation extends for up to 6 weeks or 36 hours of therapy.


Codes Used in this BI:


94625 Physician or other qualified health care prof svcs for outpt pulmonary rehab; w/o continuous oximetry monitoring (per session)

94626 Physician or other qualified health care prof svcs for outpt pulmonary rehab; w/continuous oximetry monitoring (per session)

S9473 Pulmonary rehabilitation program, nonphysician provider, per diem


Pulmonary rehabilitation is not considered medically necessary in persons who have very severe pulmonary impairment as evidenced by dyspnea at rest, difficulty in conversation (one-word answers), inability to work, cessation of most of all usual activities making them housebound and often limiting them to bed or chair with dependency upon assistance from others for most ADL. According to available guidelines, persons with very severe pulmonary impairment are not appropriate candidates for pulmonary rehabilitation.

  1. Lacasse Y, Brosseau L, Milne S, et al. Pulmonary rehabilitation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002 ;( 3):CD003793.
  2. McDermott A. Pulmonary rehabilitation for patients with COPD. Prof Nurse. 2002; 17(9):553-556.
  3. Cambach W, Wagenaar RC, Koelman TW, et al. The long-term effects of pulmonary rehabilitation in patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A research synthesis. Archiv Phys Med Rehab. 1999; 80(1):103-111.
  4. McBride A, Milne R. Hospital-based pulmonary rehabilitation programs for patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Southampton, UK: Wessex Institute for Health Research and Development; 1999.
  5. Abdulwadud O. Outpatient multidisciplinary pulmonary rehabilitation program for patients with chronic respiratory conditions. Clayton, Victoria, Australia: Centre for Clinical Effectiveness (CCE); 2002.
  6. Ram FSF, Robinson SM, Black PN. Physical training for asthma (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 4, 2003. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
  7. Bradley J, Moran F, Greenstone M. Physical training for bronchiectasis (Cochrane Review). In: The Cochrane Library, Issue 4, 2003. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  8. Medical Technology Unit-Federal Social Insurance Office Switzerland (MTU-FSIOS). Effectiveness of rehabilitation in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Bern, Switzerland: MTU-FSIOS; 2003.
  9. O`Donnell DE, Aaron S, Bourbeau J, et al. Canadian Thoracic Society recommendations for management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease--2003. Can Respir J. 2003;10 Suppl A:11A-65A.
  10. Sin DD, McAlister FA, Man SF, Anthonisen NR. Contemporary management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Scientific review. JAMA. 2003;290(17):2301-2312.
  11. National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: Management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in adults in primary and secondary care. London, UK: NICE; 2004.
  12. Bateman ED, Feldman C, O`Brien J, et al. Guideline for the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): 2004 revision. S Afr Med J. 2004;94(7 Pt 2):559-575.

Application to Products
This policy applies to all health plans administered by QualChoice, both those insured by QualChoice and those that are self-funded by the sponsoring employer, unless there is indication in this policy otherwise or a stated exclusion in your medical plan booklet. Consult the individual plan sponsor Summary Plan Description (SPD) for self-insured plans or the specific Evidence of Coverage (EOC) for those plans insured by QualChoice. In the event of a discrepancy between this policy and a self-insured customer’s SPD or the specific QualChoice EOC, the SPD or EOC, as applicable, will prevail. State and federal mandates will be followed as they apply.
Changes: QualChoice reserves the right to alter, amend, change or supplement benefit interpretations as needed.
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