Using payment numbers and payment forms correctly

Issue: BCMJ, Vol. 59, No. 9, November 2017, page(s) 448,486 Billing Tips
Lorne Verhulst, MD

Doctors of BC has recently been made aware that some physicians are confusing the use of payment numbers and payment forms. Practitioners should understand how the numbers differ and how to use them correctly with the appropriate forms.

It is important to remember that practitioner number and payment number are distinct terms, and both are assigned to practitioners. The practitioner number is yours alone and is unique to you. Your personal payment number is also unique, but a business entity such as a clinic or a corporation can also have a payment number. Payment numbers reflect different business arrangements that a practitioner may have.

It has come to light that some physicians have been linking their personal payment numbers to a clinic’s bank account, which is not a good practice. While it is quite common for payments to be assigned to a clinic or to a principal physician when a practitioner is doing a locum, it is important that this process be completed correctly; if it is not, the payments a practitioner receives from different places of work could be misdirected. For this reason, it is important to understand that the Application for Direct Bank Payment form and the Assignment of Payment form are different and are intended for distinct purposes.

The first, the Application for Direct Bank Payment form (HLTH 2832) should be used only when you want your MSP payments to be deposited into an account that you control personally or into a professional corporation account that you hold closely.

The second, the Assignment of Payment form (HLTH 2870) is to be used where payments need to be directed elsewhere (e.g., to a clinic or a principal physician for whom you are doing a locum). Section C. 9 (Assignment of Payment) in the Preamble to the Medical Services Commission Payment Schedule covers these situations. This allows services claimed by a practitioner to be paid for directly to the clinic’s or principal’s payment number, thereby reflecting the business arrangements.

Further, Section C. 7 (MSP Billing Number) of the Preamble requires that all claims submitted to MSP include both a practitioner number and a personal payment number. In a correctly completed Assignment of Payment form, each claim identifies both the practitioner who provided the service (by the practitioner number) and the entity that received payment for the service (by the payment number).

Section C. 9 also states, “Even though the payment has been assigned, the responsibility for the clinical service and its appropriate billing remains with the practitioner whose practitioner number is used.”

In summary, your personal payment number is for you only, and it should always remain linked to a corporate or personal bank account in your control. Although your practitioner number is unique, it may be associated with many different payment numbers to reflect different business arrangements. Physicians are responsible for the accuracy of the claims associated with their practitioner number in all of their various business arrangements.
—Lorne Verhulst, MD
Chair, Patterns of Practice Committee

This article is the opinion of the Patterns of Practice Committee and has not been peer reviewed by the BCMJ Editorial Board. For further information contact Juanita Grant, manager, audit and billing, Physician and External Affairs, at 604 638-2829 or