In § 142.408, Requirements: Health care providers, we would require each health care provider that needs an NPI for HIPAA transactions to obtain, by application if necessary, an NPI and to use the NPI wherever required on all standard transactions that it directly transmits or accepts. The process by which health care providers will apply for and obtain NPIs has not yet been established. This proposed rule (in section III., Implementation of the NPI) presents implementation options by which health care providers will apply for and obtain NPIs. We are seeking comments on the options, and welcome other options for consideration. In one of the options we are presenting, we anticipate that the initial enumeration of health care providers that are already enrolled in Medicare, other Federal programs named as health plans, and Medicaid would be done by those health plans. Those health care providers would not have to apply for NPIs but would instead have their NPIs issued automatically. Non-Federal and non-Medicaid providers would need to apply for NPIs to a Federally-directed registry for initial enumeration. The information that will be needed in order to issue an NPI to a health care provider is discussed in this preamble in section IV. Data. Depending on the implementation option selected, Federal and Medicaid health care providers may not need to provide this information because it would already be available to the entities that would be enumerating them. In one of the options, health care providers would be assigned their NPIs in the course of enrolling in the Federal health plan or in Medicaid. Both options may require, to some degree, the development of an application to be used in applying for an NPI.
We would require each health care provider that has an NPI to forward updates to the data in the database to an NPI enumerator within 60 days of the date the change occurs. We are soliciting comments on whether these updates should be applicable to all the data elements proposed to be included in the national provider file (NPF) or only to those data elements that are critical for enumeration. For example, we would like to know whether the addition of a credential should be required to be reported within the 60-day period, or whether such updates should be limited to name or address changes or other data elements that are required to enumerate a health care provider.