In order to submit Alberta Health claims and get reimbursed for your services, you need to have an Alberta Health Practitioner number and a Business Arrangement (BA) number. We’ve compiled a complete walkthrough of everything you will need to know about your Practitioner Number and BA Number, plus the most commonly asked questions to our billing support team.
The Difference between your Alberta Health Practitioner Number & your BA Number
In our experience there’s a lot of confusion around practitioner numbers and BA numbers – especially when first starting out. These are two separate numbers, one that identifies you as a doctor and the other one that strictly has to do with billing and submitting claims to Alberta Health.
So which is which?
- Your Alberta Health Practitioner number identifies you as a doctor
- Your BA business number tells Alberta Health where to send payment for claims submitted under that number
Your BA number is what you connect to a billing service so that they can bulk submit claims for you. Getting these two numbers generally takes around 2 weeks so once you have your independent practice license and a job lined up, you can apply for this.
How to Get Your Alberta Health Practitioner Number (Prac. ID#)
All practicing physicians require a Practitioner Identification Number (Prac. ID#). Having a Prac. ID is what registers you with Alberta Health and is also the number that colleagues will use as your referring practitioner number. This number never changes and will follow you throughout your career.
In order to apply you need to do the following:
- Fill out the Practitioner Information form (AHC0912)
- After completing the form, send it to Alberta Health along with the requested documents for processing.
Once Alberta Health processes your application you’ll receive a letter in the mail containing your Practitioner ID number as well as a Business arrangement number. Depending on the time of year, they can take up to 2 weeks.
How to Apply for Your Alberta Health Business Arrangement (BA) Number
In order to start submitting claims to Alberta Health you need to have a Business Arrangement (BA) number. A BA number simply tells Alberta Health where to send payment for claims submitted under that number.
You apply for your BA number by using the form mentioned above.
What If I Already Have a Practitioner ID Number?
If you already have a practitioner ID number and are just looking to obtain a new BA Number, you would need to fill out the following form:
When you sign up for Dr. Bill, you can fill this form out electronically on our website and we will send it to Alberta Health for you along with your void cheque for processing.
Setting Up Direct Deposit
To set up direct deposit, simply attach a void cheque when applying for your business arrangement number.
- For a complete guide on how to submit claims for payment in Alberta check out our Alberta Health Billing Guide.
Already have an unattached BA number?
If you already have an unattached BA number and are wanting to attach it to a billing submitter, you will need to fill out a client submitter form with your billing service in order to make them the authorized submitter for that BA number.
- Fill out the Client Submitter Form *If billing with Dr.Bill, we send this form electronically for you!
How to Use/Set up your Incorporated BA Number
If you have a corporation, you would still fill out a business arrangement number form and attach a void cheque for your corporation.
If you are wanting to switch the banking information on your current BA number from a personal bank account to your corporation bank account, you would need to fill out a direct deposit form. The completed form should then be submitted along with a void cheque for your corporation bank account to Alberta Health.
- The form can be found here: https://cfr.forms.gov.ab.ca/form/ahc1143.pdf
Business Arrangement Numbers for Locums
As a locum there are two common ways to submit your billings:
1. On Your Own
If you’re going to be submitting claims on your own then you need to apply for your own fee-for-service BA number, as indicated above. You then use that number for every where you end up locuming.
2. Through the Clinic
If you’re locumming at a clinic, it’s possible, depending on your payment arrangement with the clinic or physician, that they might submit your claims for you through their own billing system. If this is the case then you’d need a Locum BA.
A Locum BA doesn’t have a submitter (a.k.a. a billing service) attached to them so the number can be used by different submitters (not just one billing service). If you’re using a Locum BA then your claims would need to be submitted along with the clinic’s BA (or with the BA of the physician you’re covering). That being said, the first option is generally more common as most Alberta locums get a fee-for-service BA number and choose their own billing service to use.
Common Alberta Health Billing Questions
1. Does my Alberta Health New Practitioner Registration & BA Business Number stay the same throughout my career?
Yes and no. Your Alberta Health New Practitioner Registration will always be the same.
As for your BA number, it will stay the same as long as you’re using one billing software (for example Dr. Bill). However, if for some reason you used two different billing softwares – for example you used Dr. Bill for your hospital work but for your office you used the billing option provided, then you’d need two BA numbers. The purpose of the BA number is to identify:
- who is being paid
- where the statements will be sent
- which submitter (billing software) is authorized to submit claims for that BA
2. Will getting a second BA number affect my other billings?
If you apply for an additional BA payment number there will be no impact on your other billings. Remember this just tells Alberta Health who is submitting your claims.
3. I’m changing from my previous biller to Dr. Bill. What form do I need?
You will need to fill out a Business Arrangement Request Form to request a new fee for service BA number that is attached to Dr. Bill
4. Can I sign up for Dr. Bill with my practitioner number?
You need to have an Alberta Health billing number in order to submit claims to AHCIP. However, if you want to sign up for Dr. Bill before you graduate, or before you have your Alberta Health practitioner number, you can create a fake number (ex. 123456789) and then change it once your electronic applications have been approved.
5. I have a BA number that I was using for clinic work, 123456789. I haven’t used that number in a few years, can I connect it to Dr. Bill?
No, Alberta Health will not switch the submitter that is attached to a BA number. A new Fee for Service BA number will be needed. You can obtain a new Fee for Service BA number by filling out a Business Arrangement Request Form.
6. Is it okay to have some billings sent in through Dr. Bill and others through the office I work at?
Yes, but you need to use two different BA numbers. If you’re running two parallel billing systems, you can only use one BA number for each billing service/EMR system. A BA number just tells AHCIP where the claims are coming from.
If you have any questions about what form you need, get in touch with our team, we can help!
Once you do get set up and start billing, check out these 7 AHCIP billing tips and reminders to make sure you’re submitting claims correctly!