Physicians Encouraged to Sign Up Soon for an NPI

By Schneider, Mary Ellen | Clinical Psychiatry News, February 2007 | Go to article overview

Physicians Encouraged to Sign Up Soon for an NPI


Schneider, Mary Ellen, Clinical Psychiatry News


The clock is ticking for physicians to sign up for a National Provider Identifier, the new 10-digit number that will be used by Medicare, Medicaid, and many private health plans to process claims.

The deadline for registering for an NPI number is May 23.

Physicians who are not using an NPI after that date could experience cash flow disruptions, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The transition to a single identifier that can be used across health plans is required under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. Most health plans and all health care clearinghouses must begin using NPIs to process physicians' claims in standard transactions by May 23. Small health plans have another year to become compliant.

"The NPI is the new standard identifying number for all healthcare billing transactions, not just for billing Medicare or Medicaid. National standards like the NPI will make electronic data exchanges a viable and preferable alternative to paper processing for health care providers and health plans alike," said Aaron Hase, a CMS spokesman. As of Jan. 29, more than 1.6 million NPIs had been assigned, according to CMS.

Physicians and other health care providers can apply for an NPI online or by using a paper application. In addition, organizations like hospitals or professional associations can submit applications for several physicians in an electronic file. …

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