Frequently Asked Questions About the National Provider Identifier (NPI). What is the National Provider Identifier (NPI)?


Today, health plans assign identification numbers to health care providers -- individuals, groups, or organizations that provide medical or other health services or supplies. The result is that providers who do business with multiple health plans have multiple identification numbers. The NPI is a unique identification number for health care providers that will be used by all health plans. Health care providers and all health plans and health care clearinghouses will use the NPIs in the administrative and financial transactions specified by HIPAA. The NPI was proposed as an 8-position alphanumeric identifier. However, many commenters preferred a 10-position numeric identifier with a check digit in the last position to help detect keying errors. The NPI contains no embedded intelligence; that is, it contains no information about the health care provider such as the type of health care provider or State where the health care provider is located.