To help ensure the proper identification of healthcare providers, there has been a system established. The system, very much like many other identification processes that are initiated by the government, is based on numbers. Get the facts about NPI numbers for health care providers now.

NPI Numbers - What are They?

A unique number which is issued to United States healthcare providers and that is ten digits, is what a National Provider Identifier or NPI is. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(CMS) issue these numbers. Previously, it was as UPIN(unique provider identification number) that these services were once issued. The UPIN has now been replaced by the NPI.

Now, Why Is It An NPI?

Of the utmost concern is proper maintenance of patient record privacy. The sharing of medical records is governed by regulations, and included in this is what situations are considered to be private, and just who may access this information. This works in accordance with the HIPAA, or the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In 2006, as part of this tradition, CMS started to issue NPIs.

Mandatory Uses

It is permanent when an NPI is issued to a medical provider. And regardless of where she or he works or the location, this distinctive number remains with the practitioner. Throughout any changes that may occur, the number continues to be the same. An NPI is not required for the healthcare support staff to have. Included in these are housekeeping workers, admission staff, medical billing staff, orderlies and certain others. An NPI is required by all professionals including nurse practitioners, midwives, nurses, professional counselors, physical therapists, athletic trainers, chiropractors, dentists, physician assistants, and of course, physicians. In standard HIPAA transactions, the NPI is used. To identify the covered health care practitioners, entities covered by HIPAA must use the NPI. A document from CMS, HIPAA National Providers Identifier Rule Guidance On Compliance", contains details regarding this change and precisely how it does work.

Getting An NPI Number

Getting the required NPI number is relatively simple to do. Through the pages designated for the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES), it is provided at the CMS website. To get the number can take anywhere from one day to three weeks.

NPI Other Uses

There are several other reasons to have an NPI besides the mandatory requirements. For one, in different transactions, healthcare providers can identify themselves. In addition, when needed, other health care providers can be identified. And in different lawful activities, the identification of a healthcare practitioner can be established.

It is so important that healthcare practitioner information can be properly validated and identified for so many different reasons and situations.