National Provider Identifier (NPI)
For covered healthcare providers in the United States, a national provider identifier (NPI) is a specific ten-digit identification number required by HIPAA.
The NPI must be used in administrative and financial transactions implemented under HIPAA by covered insurers, health plans, and healthcare clearinghouses—public or private organizations that handle or promote health information processing.
What is the purpose of an NPI?
This number aims to promote the organization and establish national standards within HIPAA transactions; however, it is possible to check for their National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) details using the NPI of a provider.
The NPI is an “intelligence-free” number itself—it holds no personal identity of the holder other than a name and business address.
Having an NPI does not guarantee that a provider is licensed, but all licensed providers must have an NPI.
Who must obtain an NPI?
All Individuals and Organizations who meet the definition of health care provider described at 45 CFR 160.103 are eligible to obtain a National Provider Identifier or NPI.
There are two types of health care providers in terms of NPIs:-
Type 1 — Healthcare providers, including doctors, dentists, and all single owners, need Type 1 NPI. An individual is eligible for only one NPI.
Type 2- This category includes hospitals and home health agencies that offer healthcare facilities or provide patients with healthcare supplies.
Once assigned, the NPI of a provider is permanent and stays with the provider regardless of the job or location changes.
Do Doctors have NPI numbers?
Yes, it is mandatory to have an NPI number for doctors too.
According to HIPAA act, all individual healthcare professionals covered by HIPAA, including doctors, physician assistants, occupational therapists, pharmacy technicians, and more, or organizations such as hospitals, home health services, nursing homes, group practices, labs, pharmacies, medical equipment companies and more, must obtain an NPI for use in all regular HIPAA transactions.