This variable contains the prescriber identification number as reported by the Part D sponsor on the PDE record submitted to CMS.
Historically, this could be an NPI, DEA identification number, or UPIN. Since NPIs are now required by CMS (after April 2013), they appear most frequently (2009 forward). The type of prescriber identifier used is documented in the PRSCRBR_ID_QLFYR_CD variable.
Starting with 2014 data, the PRSCRBR_ID can be used to link to the NPI variable in the Prescriber Characteristics File.
Historically, a single individual prescriber might have had more than one type of identifier, and the PDEs that he/she prescribed may have more than one PRSCRBR_ID (e.g., the NPI could have appeared on some PDEs and the DEA number on others). The PRSCRBR_ID usually represents a unique individual prescriber (i.e., a prescribing provider), but can occasionally represent an entity or organization (e.g., a clinic or specialized unit of a hospital).
From 2006 -2013, when CMS privacy restrictions prohibited release of this variable, the CCW created a unique CCW prescriber identifier by cross walking all of the possible identifiers for each prescriber and assigning a CCW_PRSCRBR_ID to represent an individual medical practitioner. This allowed PDE records that had the same prescriber but used a combination of different identifiers to be assigned the same identifier in the CCW files.
From 2006 - 2013, the CCW_PRSCRBR_ID enabled linkage to the CCW Prescriber Characteristics File. For current years, the PRSCRBR_ID will link to the Prescriber Characteristics File. For 2006-2013, the CCW_PRSCRBR_ID may be obtained instead of (but not in addition to) the PRSCRBR_ID. The CCW_PRSCRBR_ID was retired after 2013.