What is an NPI?

Last Updated March 14th, 2017

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) define the National Provider Identifier (NPI) as “a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Administrative Simplification Standard.” The NPI is a unique identification number for covered health care providers. Covered health care providers and all health plans and health care clearinghouses must use NPIs in the administrative and financial transactions adopted under HIPAA. The NPI is a 10-position, intelligence-free numeric identifier (10-digit number). This means that the numbers do not carry other information about healthcare providers, such as the state in which they live or their medical specialty. The NPI must be used in lieu of legacy provider identifiers in the HIPAA standards transactions.

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