NPIs

March 1, 2007

Do I need to get a national provider identifier (NPI)? By when? How do I get numbers for other physicians who refer to me?

Question: Do I need to get a national provider identifier (NPI)? By when? How do I get numbers for other physicians who refer to me?

Answer: Every physician who bills Medicare will need an NPI by May 23, 2007. You can start using it in place of other identifiers on claim forms at any time. Make sure you leave yourself time to not only get a number but also get it into your practice management or billing systems by the deadline.

You can apply for a number online in about 20 minutes, by visiting the CMS Web site and following the NPI application instructions.

You will need to use others’ NPIs on some claim forms. Your best bet is to actually contact the offices of your top referrers and ask. Physicians are required to share their number with other physicians. You can also make asking about the NPI part of the process involved in doing a consult for another office.