Latebreakers: CMS urges R.Ph.s to review NPI data

July 9, 2007

CMS is encouraging providers to view their records to ensure that the information they furnished is current and accurate and does not include private information.

Now that more than 2.2 million healthcare providers have received a National Provider Identification (NPI) number, CMS is encouraging providers to view their records to ensure that the information they furnished is current and accurate and does not include private information. Although pharmacists will be permitted to view their records now, the database will not be made publicly available until Aug. 1. According to Aryeh Langer, a health insurance specialist at CMS, many healthcare providers inadvertently included personal data like Social Security numbers, home phone numbers, and birth dates on their NPI forms. The CMS plan to require NPI numbers for processing most claims was to begin 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 pharmacies billing CMS are required to either use NPI numbers or have a contingency plan in place for compliance. Healthcare providers can access the NPI data at http://www.nppes.cms.hhs.gov/.