Latebreakers: CMS to release NPI database

June 4, 2007

More than a week after the initial deadline for registering for a National Provider Identifier (NPI) number passed, CMS released a dissemination notice that reveals that a key NPI database will be available soon.

More than a week after the initial deadline for registering for a National Provider Identifier (NPI) number passed, CMS released a dissemination notice that reveals that a key NPI database will be available soon. Published in the May 30 Federal Register, the notice outlines the basic data that will be available in the on-line database but does not clarify whether the system will also have healthcare provider DEA numbers, a key data crosswalk. The switchover to NPI numbers was supposed to go into effect in May but was delayed after providers and insurance plans complained that they needed more time to gather the new numbers and test their billing systems. Currently, most providers billing CMS are required to either use NPI numbers or have a contingency plan in place for compliance. As a result, pharmacies currently have to provide NPI numbers to some health plans, while other plans may require legacy billing numbers, or a combination of identifiers. The delay in the data dissemination, some note, has made it difficult for healthcare providers to get and share NPI numbers. More information about NPI and how to access the data will be available on CMS' NPI Web page: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/NationalProvIdentStand/