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Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Health Care Providers and Suppliers

1. What is the difference between a "provider" of health care and a "supplier" of health care?


These terms are most commonly found in the federal Medicare program where Medicare law differentiates between providers and suppliers. A "provider" under Medicare is one who care for patients awaiting, receiving, or recuperating from treatment by intervening practitioners; for example: hospitals, critical access hospitals, hospices, home health agencies, and comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities. Skilled nursing facilities and community mental health centers also fall under this definition. Suppliers on the other hand, are those who furnish goods and services used in patient care and treatment; for example: portable x-ray units, rural health clinics, end-stage renal dialysis facilities, physical therapists, and occupational therapists.


2. Is it the same for Medicaid?


No.  Medicaid terminology uses “provider” generically to include all health care vendors including individual practitioners and groups of practitioners.

Last Updated: 06/21/12