|In tables of patient location demographics, if you select to show ZIP Codes, you will notice that the entries are incomplete.|
Why do ZIP codes only show four digits?
Patient confidentiality is not only important in the medical industry, there are numerous requirements to guarantee that privacy be maintained. CMS has mandated that complete ZIP Codes be suppressed in all patient metrics reported. Instead, all ZIP codes are aggregated under the first four digits.
We can use an example from the image above to demonstrate.
9520- represents patient metrics for residents of the following ten ZIP Codes:
Most patient demographics are based on counts of patients who reside in the state, county, or ZIP Code where they reside. To calculate metrics for 9520-, we aggregate the patient counts from the ten listed ZIP Codes.