If you don't have a National Provider Identifier (NPI) yet, the clock is ticking.

Use of this standard identifier is required by May 23, 2007 (May 23, 2008,for small health plans), according to rules published under the Administrative Simplification Section of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

The Final Rule establishing the NPI was published on Jan. 23, 2004, and went into effect on May 23, 2005.

The NPI will replace all other provider identifiers (including the UPIN and provider identification numbers assigned by health plans) on electronic claims submission, eligibility verification, remittance advice and other HIPAA standard transactions.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has additional information and resources about the NPI at www.cms.hhs.gov/NationalProvIdentStand/.

You may apply for an NPI in one of three ways:

CMS also has launched a process to allow hospitals or other health care organizations to apply on...

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