Magazine article Drug Topics

New Provider Numbers Are on the Way

Magazine article Drug Topics

New Provider Numbers Are on the Way

Article excerpt

Pharmacists will be able to say good riddance to those pesky physician Drug Enforcement Administration identification numbers on prescription drug claims thanks to a new venture launched by the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP). This is the association that sets standards for electronic pharmacy transactions.

The new initiative has been labeled the HCIdea Directory. Its concept is to develop, support, and distribute unique identification numbers for every prescriber in the United States.

Announced at NCPDP's recent annual meeting, the HCIdea Directory will be a national database to help facilitate prescription drug claims processing by replacing DEA numbers as a way to identify prescribers.

Eliminating use of DEA numbers will be a big plus for everyone along the Rx claim processing route, including pharmacists, said Phillip Scott, NCPDP's newly appointed executive v.p. of healthcare relations and development. Pharmacies will be able to clean up their files, claims won't get bounced for lack of a valid prescriber number, and prescribers will finally be matched to their correct locations.

"The DEA has been threatening for a number of years to shut down use of its numbers [as identification]," Scott told Drug Topics. "And some states are already actively seeking to do that. It's not until they realize the potential chaos it would cause to eliminate [the DEA number] as the sole source of physician identification that they tend to back off a bit. The DEA issue around claims adjudication is real. So far, we've managed to put it off, but only for a while."

The DEA is already getting serious about misuse of the numbers it assigns to providers authorized to prescribe controlled substances. "Through a series of interviews, we've been told that the DEA has started to fine pharmacies $10,000 for every instance of misuse of the DEA number or of inaccurate DEA numbers within their files," Scott said. …

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