Use those NPI numbers, says CMS

Sunday, September 2, 2007

WASHINGTON - The national provider identification number (NPI) registry will be up and running Sept. 4, CMS announced last week.

A downloadable file version is expected in another week.

It's important for providers to verify that the information contained in the database is correct and make necessary changes to it, said CMS.

Also, beginning Sept. 3, Medicare Fiscal Intermediaries and the Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) will begin transitioning their systems to reject claims when the NPI and the legacy number cannot be found on the Medicare crosswalk.

"I told all my clients to go ahead and submit using the NPI," said Medicare consultant Andrea Stark. "(By now) most providers have NPIs."

While HME providers must include their NPIs on claims, they do not yet need to include the NPI of the referring physician.

"Where providers were scared was they thought they were going to be required to have all their physician NPIs and that's not the case," said Stark.

Physicians have until May 2008 to obtain and begin using NPIs.

Contractors have begun calling providers with high volume rejections or who are not submitting yet NPIs. Providers who are contacted may be asked to validate their registry information.