Ryan White Program Guidance: Establishing an URN

Ryan White
Guidance: Establishing an URN
The Unique Record Number (URN) is a unique code assigned to each client
based on portions of the individual's first and last name, date of birth, and
gender. The URN is used to distinguish one client from all others and is
essential for merging and unduplicating client records across providers.
The URN is created from the following:
First and third letters of the first name
First and third letters of the last name
Two-digit Month, Day, and Year of birth
Code for Gender (1=Male; 2=Female; 3=Transgender; 9=Unknown)
If a field is missing, or say the first or last name is only two letters
long, then the number 9 is inserted for that field
The letter and numbers above form the 11 digit un-encrypted unique record
number. For example, the URN for a client named Jane M. Doe, female,
born on March 15, 1965 would be JNDE0315652.
After this number is created, it is encrypted, or scrambled, using a complex
algorithm. The resulting nine-digit code does not resemble the original
information in any way. It is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to retrace the information
in the URN or retrace any personal information about the clients. Decoding a
URN is not feasible; too much of the original information is removed during
the encryption process to be able to work backwards to the original 11-digit
For the client level demonstration sites (who have special data reporting
requirements), only the encrypted URN is submitted to HRSA. As a further
safeguard, HRSA strips each record of the encrypted URN and replaces it
with a sequential number that is used to uniquely identify each client. NO
identifying information is sent to the Heath Resources and Services
Administration (HRSA).