You’ve probably heard of the National Provider Identification (NPI) numbers if you’re a healthcare provider.
These unique 10-digit identification numbers are assigned to healthcare providers, such as physicians, nurses, and therapists, by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
All healthcare providers who wish to bill Medicare or Medicaid for their services must have the NPI number. It’s for identification and insurance reimbursement purposes. This guide will explain everything you need to know about the NPI number, including why it’s essential and how to get one.
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Why is the NPI number significant?
It helps to prevent fraud and abuse within the healthcare system.
The 10-digit identification number helps to identify providers who may be billing for services they did not render. It also assists in identifying providers who may be billing for services that are not medically necessary.
For example, if a healthcare provider bills for a service that is not medically needed, such as a cosmetic procedure, CMS can identify the provider using their NPI number and take action accordingly.
It allows patients to find your practice information online easily.
If you’re a provider who accepts Medicare or Medicaid, the number is listed on the provider search tool on the CMS website. For example, if you are a primary care provider, your number will be listed next to your name and practice information on the CMS website. You are making it easy for patients to find your practice information and schedule an appointment.
The number is also used by electronic health record (EHR) systems to exchange patient information between providers.
If you refer a patient to a specialist, e.g., an orthopedist, your EHR system will use the specialist’s NPI number to send the referral information. The specialist’s number allows sharing the patient’s medical records with your EHR system. Allowing seamless information exchange between providers helps ensure that the patient receives the best care possible.
It helps CMS keep track of provider billing and payments.
Your number is required on all claims when billing Medicare or Medicaid. It helps CMS to keep track of provider billing and payments. Include your number on your claim to avoid delay or rejection. For example, if you forget to include the number on a claim, CMS will not be able to match the claim to your provider record and will only allow the claim if it is present.
How do I get an NPI number?
The process for obtaining the number is relatively simple.
- You can apply online through the relevant CMS website. You’ll need to create an account on the CMS website to log in and begin the application process. The entire process should take less than an hour, and you’ll receive your NPI number instantly upon completion.
- Another way is to download the application from the CMS website if you prefer to fill out a paper application. Once you’ve completed the application, please mail it to the address listed on the form. After sending in your application, it will take about 4-6 weeks to receive your NPI number.
Getting an NPI number may seem like a hassle, but it’s fairly easy. And having the number is essential if you want to be a healthcare provider who accepts Medicare or Medicaid patients. So what are you waiting for? Get started on your application today!