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Central Distributor SASD: Description of Data Elements

SURGID_S - Synthetic primary surgeon number
Documentation Sections:
General Notes
Uniform Values
State Specific Notes
General Notes

For HCUP data from 2001 to 2002, this data element is called MDNUM2_S. Beginning in 2003, this data element is called MDNUM2_R.

SURGID_S contains a fixed-key (one-to-one) encryption of the supplied primary surgeon number (SURGID), according to the following rules:

  • All alphanumeric digits are used in the encryption.
  • All symbols such as ".,:;'*@" are retained in the encrypted value, but not in the same location.
  • Leading zeros are encrypted so that the two original physician identifiers "000A6" and "A6" are distinctly different.
  • When the original attending physician and primary surgeon identifiers are the same, the synthetic identifiers, MDID_S and SURGID_S, are the same.
  • When the SURGID in the ambulatory surgery data and the inpatient data are the same, the synthetic identifier, SURGID_S is the same.

Except in those data sources where physician license numbers are supplied, it is not known whether the physician identifier SURGID_S refers to individual physicians or to groups. If the primary surgeon numbers supplied by the data source are not restricted to license numbers, the state-specific note includes available information about reporting practices, including whether SURGID_S refers to individual physicians or to groups.

Beginning in the 1993 data, supplied physician identifiers were checked for null characters. If null characters were found, they were replaced by blanks before the identifier was encrypted. Since this conversion was not done in prior years of HCUP data, the encrypted physician identifiers from 1993 on may not match those in earlier years. However, null characters are rarely included.

Uniform Values
VariableDescriptionValueValue Description
SURGID_SSynthetic primary surgeon number16(a)Synthetic physician identifier
State Specific Notes


The primary surgeon number (SURGID_S) may not accurately track physicians across hospitals. The state encourages hospitals to use the Professional State License Number as an identifier, but some hospitals continue to use their own internal identification number. Also, some hospitals appear to pad the Professional State License Number (a 5-digit code). Information was not available from the data source about the prevalence of these practices.

Some hospitals may use one license number for all physicians in order to protect physician confidentiality. Information was not available about the prevalence of this practice.


Florida reports state license numbers for the operating physician identifiers. During HCUP processing, physician identifiers were encrypted (SURGID_S).


The encrypted identifier for the physician performing the principal procedure (SURGID_S) may not accurately track physicians across hospitals. Kentucky collects two different types of physician identifiers, Universal Physician Identification Numbers (UPINs) and state license numbers.


Maryland reports a state license number assigned by the Medical Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland (MED CHI) for the attending physician. Source documentation describes strict assignment and verification rules for this field.

New Jersey

New Jersey provided state license numbers as physician identifiers for all years.

New York

New York reports state license numbers as physician identifiers. Source documentation indicates that if the operating physician did not possess a valid New York state license number, the license number of the operating physician or Chief of Service should have been reported.

New York does not limit this field to physicians; dentists, podiatrists, psychologists, nurse/midwifes, and other licensed health care professionals may be included. It is impossible to identify the different types of providers in the HCUP data.

Source physician identifiers are encrypted during HCUP processing.

For 1998 - 2000, physician identifiers are missing (" ") on discharges with an indication of an induced abortion. New York identifies an indication of induced abortion by ICD-9-CM diagnosis or procedure code:

  • An admitting, principal, or secondary diagnosis of "6350" through "6399", or "7796".
  • A principal or secondary procedure of "690", "695", "696", "6993", "738", "7491", "750", "751", or "9649".

Please note that the admitting diagnosis is not retained in the HCUP databases.


Internet Citation: HCUP Central Distributor SASD Description of Data Elements - All States. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). April 2008. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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Last modified 4/11/08