Place of Service 81- POS 81 in Medical Billing (2024)

The medical term place of service is used during medical billing for professional claims and determining the location where the medical service was offered to the patients.

Every code determines a unique location where potential medical services can be given and Place of Service 81 is one of them.

What is Place of Service 81?

This unique place of service 81 or POS 81 code is used whenever a certain service is performed in an independent laboratory.

Independent laboratories are quite common nowadays. These are laboratories that adhere to certain services and are certified to do so.

These laboratories perform various tests that range from clinical tests like blood pressure, blood tests, etc. to diagnostic tests.

“Independent Laboratories”- What does it refer to in the Place of Service 81 Code?

These laboratories are called independent because they are not dependent on any other medical institution or physician’s office or so.

Nonetheless, often many patients take in tests from these independent laboratories because they are rather hassle-free compared to procuring the same service in hospitals.

And when one partakes in such service they have to use Place of Service 81 during medical billing.

The place of service 81 is a complicated code altogether. It has a lot of rules and complications that might confuse people.

It is very important to use the right code during professional claims or the claim might get denied!

There is no room for mistakes while mentioning the Place of Service 81 code!

 According to MCA guidelines, the location where the sample for the test was taken plays a major role. It determines the codes that have to be used.

If the sample is taken in an ordinary medical institution or hospital then POS 21 OR 22 should be used while if the location is a physician’s office then POS 11 should be used. 

However, if the location of the sample collection is the independent laboratory then Place of Service 81 should be used in the medical billing.

The usage of the code is dependent on the location where the sample was collected.

Imagine a situation where the actual test is done in the independent laboratory but the sample was collected in another location.

Then the Place of Service code is used to determine that particular location has to be used during professional claims.

There is no room for mistakes, it is a must for all independent laboratories or reference laboratories to mention the place from where the sample was collected.

Be it the laboratory itself or any hospital or the patient’s home, this is the basic guideline for reporting any case with the Place of Service 81.

Finally to conclude…

Place of Service codes is some things everyone should be aware of. As one might face such a situation at any point in time, it’s a must to use a POS code for any kind of Mediclaim.

Private or public insurance all require a place of service. Place of Service 81 codes are mainly used for services like testing. Therefore they aren’t very intense, however, they are quite common.

Place of Service 81 FAQs

Q1. What is the Place of Service 81 for?

Ans. This unique place of service is used whenever a certain service is performed in an independent laboratory.
If any services are provided in an independent laboratory then POS 81 will be used for professional claims during medical billings.

Q2. What is an Independent Laboratory?

Ans. Independent laboratories are the certified laboratories that adhere to certain services like performing various tests, such as blood tests and pressure tests, diagnostic tests, etc.
They are independent as they don’t depend on any other medical institution or physician’s office to operate.

Q3. When can POS 81 be used accurately during medical billing?

Ans. The location where the samples are being obtained for the test plays the main role. If the sample is collected in any other medical establishment like a hospital or off-campus location then brought into the independent lab to test then POS 81 cannot be used.
The sample of the test should be obtained in the laboratory itself and then only POS 81 can be used during medical billings.


  • NSingh (MBA, RCM Expert)

    The author and contributor of this blog "NSingh" is working in Medical Billing and Coding since 2010. He is MBA in marketing and Having vaste experience in different scopes of Medical Billing and Coding as AR-Follow-up, Payment Posting, Charge posting, Coding, etc.