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National Provider Identifier Rule Announced
January 23, 2004

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the adoption of the National Provider Identifier (NPI) as the standard unique health identifier for health care providers to use in filing and processing health care claims and other transactions. This rule is another part of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The NPI is a new number that will be issued through the National Provider System that is being developed by CMS. The NPI replaces all "legacy" identifiers that are currently being used.

All covered health care providers must obtain NPIs and use them in standard transactions by May 23, 2007. Adoption of NPI is the latest step in implementing the administrative simplification provisions of HIPAA. Health care providers do not need to take any action to apply for NPIs at this time. The system that will handle the assignment of NPIs will be ready to accept applications for NPIs after the effective date of the final rule, which is May 23, 2005. The rule establishing the NPI is available in the Federal Register dated January 22 at www.gpoaccess.gov/fr. Contact Rebecca May Cole with any HIPAA related questions.

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