CMS announces online NPI registry

Saturday, June 30, 2007

WASHINGTON - CMS expected to make National Provider Identification (NPI) numbers available online June 28, the agency stated in an advanced copy of its NPI data dissemination policy May 23.
For months, providers--many of whom said they had difficulty obtaining NPIs from referral sources--have been asking officials to create a central registry of NPIs. May 23 was the deadline for obtaining the numbers, although CMS has created contingency plans for those not in compliance.
The notice, which will be published in the May 30 Federal Register, outlines the policy under which data will be disclosed to covered entitites nder the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and to others.
* Data available under the Freedom of Information Act will initially be available in a downloadable Internet file, with monthly update files also downloadable from the Internet, and in a query-only database by NPI or provider name.
* The notice encourages health care providers who have been assigned NPIs to review their data at this time and make any necessary updates or corrections prior to the end of the 30-day period to ensure that their information is accurate when disclosed by CMS. (Healthcare providers who are covered entities under HIPAA are required by regulation to update their NPPES data within 30 days of any change.)
* The notice states that healthcare providers who wish to delete any data that was not required to be furnished in order to obtain an NPI may do so prior to the end of the 30-day period if they prefer that those data not be disclosed by CMS.
Providers began officially using NPIs May 23 and it was too early to tell if there were widespread problems, said Kim Brummett, vice president of contracting and reimbursement for Advanced Home Care in Greensboro, N.C.
"For now, only the primary NPIs are required, not the secondarys, so it's taken the mad dash off of us to update our physician files," she said.