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Central Distributor SID: Description of Data Elements

DSHOSPID - Data source hospital number
Documentation Sections:
General Notes
Uniform Values
State Specific Notes
General Notes

There are up to three different types of hospital identifiers included in the HCUP databases.

  • The data source's own number scheme for identifying hospitals and facilities (DSHOSPID),
  • The hospital identifier used by the American Hospital Association (AHAID and IDNUMBER), and
  • A unique HCUP hospital identifier (HOSPID).

The hospital entity as defined by the data source may differ from the hospital entity as defined by the American Hospital Association. For example, the data source treats two separate facilities as two hospitals, while the AHA Annual Survey treats the two facilities as a single hospital, or vice versa. For consistency across states, HCUP defines hospitals in accordance with the AHA Annual Survey of Hospitals. During the creation of the HCUP AHA Linkage Files, the data source's identification of the hospital is reconciled with the identification of the hospital in the AHA Annual Survey of Hospitals. For detailed information about this linking process, see the special report on HCUP Hospital Identifiers.

Warning to data users: DSHOSPID is a character variable that may have different lengths in different HCUP state databases and years. When combining data across states and years, care needs to be taken to retain the values in the longest length of DSHOSPID. For example, in SAS, if the dataset with a DSHOSPID of length character 4 is listed first in the set or merge statement with a dataset containing a longer length DSHOSPID, SAS will use the first length (character 4) for the output file. The longer DSHOSPIDs will be truncated and contain the leftmost 4 characters of the DSHOSPID.

The data element DSHOSPID is available in the Core and Hospital file.

Uniform Values
VariableDescriptionValueValue Description
DSHOSPIDData source hospital number17(a)Data source hospital number
State Specific Notes


Beginning with 2003, the format of state-specific hospital identification numbers stored in DSHOSPID includes the prefix "MED" and a four character number. Prior to 2003, Arizona hospital identification numbers (DSHOSPID) are comprised of a ten digit identification number and most DSHOSPIDs contain a dash in the third position; however the dash is inconsistently included.

If you need identifying information on Arizona hospitals beyond that which is provided in the HCUP documentation, please contact the State agency directly: Donna Courtney, Arizona Department of Health Services,


Prior to 1998, the variable DSHOSPID is length 9 with the first digit indicating the level of care, the next two digits for state "06", and then a 6-digit hospital identifier that included the county code.

Beginning in 1998, DSHOSPID is length 6 and only contains the unique hospital identifier. The level of care indicator is retained in the HCUP variable LEVELCARE.

Regardless of whether the information on the level of care is stored in the first digit of DSHOSPID or variable LEVELCARE, the values are defined as follows:

0= Type of unit unknown (beginning in 1996)
1= General acute care
2= Not a valid code
3= Skilled nursing and intermediate care (long term care)
4= Psychiatric care
5= Alcohol/chemical dependency recovery treatment
6= Acute physical medicine rehabilitation care.

The reliability of this indicator for the type of care depends on how it was assigned.

Prior to 1995. The type of care was assigned by California based on the hospital's licensed units and the proportion of records in a batch of submitted records that fall into each Major Diagnostic Category (MDC). Hospitals were permitted to submit discharge records in one of two ways: submit separate batches of records for each type of care OR bundle records for all types of care into a single submission. How a hospital submitted its records to California determined the accuracy of the type of care indicated in the first digit of DSHOSPID. Consider a hospital which is licensed for more than one type of care:

  • If the hospital submitted one batch of records per type of care, then the distribution of each batch of discharges into MDCs would clearly indicate the type of care (acute, psychiatric, etc.). The data source could then accurately assign the first digit of DSHOSPID.
  • If the same hospital submitted all of its records in one batch, then the distribution of discharges into MDCs would be a mixture of acute and other types of care. The first digit of DSHOSPID would be set to "general acute care" (value = 1) on all records and would not distinguish the types of care.

Prior to 1995, most hospitals submitted only one batch of records to California which meant that the type of care indicated in the first digit of DSHOSPID did not distinguish among types of care.

Beginning in 1995. Hospitals were required to assign type of care codes to individual records for certain discharges. These discharges included:

  • general acute care (value = 1),
  • skilled nursing and intermediate care (value = 3), and
  • rehabilitation care (value = 6).

For discharges from facilities licensed as psychiatric care (value = 4) or alcohol/chemical dependency recovery treatment (value = 5), California continued to assign the type of care code to all discharges from the facility.


In 1997, Florida hospital identifiers for short-term acute care hospitals are coded slightly differently in its ambulatory and inpatient data. Florida ambulatory surgery data contains hospital identifiers of length 8. The Florida inpatient data contains hospital identifiers that are mostly length 6. For example:

  • Ambulatory Hospital Identifier = "00100001"
  • Inpatient Hospital Identifier = "100001"

Beginning in 1998, hospital identifiers that were length 6 were padded with leading zeros for consistency across data types.


In 1996 only, Iowa includes some discharges from facilities in Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. These out-of-state facilities can be separated from Iowa facilities by their five-digit DSHOSPIDs; Iowa facilities have two-, three-, or four-digit DSHOSPIDs.

Beginning with the 2011 data, hospital identifiers on the Central Distributor SID, SASD, and SEDD are only available to data purchasers whose primary affiliation is with a college, university, or government agency and whose intended use of the data does not involve product development, market research, or commercial applications. This distinction is made when you purchase the Central Distributor files.


Beginning October 1, 2017, acute physical rehabilitation cases discharged from Distinct Part Units of acute care hospitals have been separated from other discharges and reported under different DSHOSPID's. These DSHOSPID's take the form of DPRnnn, where nnn represents 3-digit numbers.


Maryland supplied the Medicare Provider Number as the unique hospital identifier.

In 2000, some values of DSHOSPID have leading blanks. These DSHOSPIDs need to be left justified to be consistent with discharges from the same DSHOSPID in 2000 and other years.


Because of the timing of HCUP data processing for the 1999 NIS, the Massachusetts source file provided to HCUP was an interim file that included records that had failed edit checks. The percent of failed records is very small, ranging from 0.0% to 1.5% (with a mean of 0.4%) for most hospitals. A handful of hospitals had a large percent of failed records. Failed records have one or more of the following errors:

  • Invalid diagnosis code *
  • Invalid procedure code *
  • Invalid or missing birth weight
  • Invalid claim certificate number **
  • Invalid or inconsistent UB-92 revenue code
  • Invalid medical record or person number
  • Invalid type of payer *
  • Inconsistent primary and secondary payer
  • Invalid physician identifier
  • Invalid patient or employer ZIP Code. **

* These errors would have been handled during HCUP data processing.

** These data elements are not included in the HCUP data files.

In data year 2004, Massachusetts changed the format of the state-specific hospital identification numbers stored in DSHOSPID. For the 2004 HCUP data files, the new hospital identifiers were mapped back to the previous coding scheme. Beginning with 2005 data, the new hospital identifiers are retained.

In data year 2020, Massachusetts provided 396 records in Q2 for a temporary field hospital set up to treat COVID patients.


Minnesota assigned hospital identifers specifically for the HCUP data collection process.


Beginning with data year 2020, Nebraska provided facility identifiers assigned by NHA.

Prior to data year 2020, Nebraska assigned hospital identifiers based on peer groups developed by DATABANK.

New Jersey

The New Jersey hospital provider identification numbers are preceded with "S" to indicate psychiatric units and "T" for rehabilitation units within the hospital.

New York

Beginning in 2008, New York suppressed the identifier for the hospital (DSHOSPID) on records with an indication of induced abortion. These records are retained with the DSHOSPID set to "BLNK". 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", or "9649".

North Carolina

North Carolina provided facility identifiers developed by the data processing contractor.


Beginning with 1995 data, Oregon changed the format of the state-specific hospital identification numbers stored in DSHOSPID. The new format is incompatible with the format used in previous years.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island provided facility identifiers developed by the Rhode Island Department of Health.


After the 2002 Vermont SID file was created, the data source reported two issues with the data:

There are duplicate discharges in the file for the following hospitals.

Duplicate Records in 2002 Vermont
DSHOSPID Number of duplicate records Number of records in the hospital
6950 3 4,044
6955 256 1,539
6962 207 2,642
Total 466 8,225

A small number of discharges have incorrect information.

Discharges with Incorrect Information by DSHOSPID
DSHOSPID Number of discharges and Incorrect Information
6950 3 neonatal discharges with incorrect principal diagnosis
6952 1 discharge with incorrect date of birth
6953 1 discharge with incorrect principal diagnosis
2 neonatal discharges missing secondary diagnosis of V3000
6955 3 discharge with incorrect principal diagnosis
6956 1 discharge with incorrect gender
6957 2 discharges with incorrect principal diagnosis
3 discharges with incorrect principal procedure
4 discharges that incorrect patient disposition
8 discharges with a incorrect primary payer
6958 9 discharges with incorrect discharge date and length of stay
6959 1 discharge with incorrect principal diagnosis
6962 1 discharge with incorrect admission date and length of stay
1 discharge with incorrect discharge date and length of stay
2 discharges with incorrect principal procedure
6963 24 discharges missing principal procedure "4524", procedure date, and operating physician
Total 66 discharges


Included with the records of general acute care stays from community hospitals are records from alcohol dependency units, bone marrow transplant units, extended care units, psychiatric units, rehabilitation units, group health units, and swing bed units. Records for these different types of care can be identified by the fourth digit of the supplied hospital identifier (DSHOSPID) on each patient record:

None General acute care
A= Alcohol Dependency Unit
B= Bone Marrow Transplant Unit
E= Extended Care Unit
H= Tacoma General/Group Health Combined
I= Group Health only at Tacoma Hospital
P= Psychiatric Unit
R= Rehabilitation Unit
S= Swing Bed Unit

Washington assigns this value to DSHOSPID based upon the type of unit discharging the patient.

West Virginia

Beginning with the 2019 data, West Virginia assigned new hospital identification numbers.

Due to errors in the source data, the 2005 West Virginia SID did not include the hospitals below: DSHOSPID = "010004", DSHOSPID = "010005", DSHOSPID = "010069", DSHOSPID = "010036", DSHOSPID = "010037".


Internet Citation: HCUP Central Distributor SID Description of Data Elements - All States. Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). May 2024. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.
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Last modified 5/22/24