The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending for 12 months a deadline, originally slated for May 23, for covered entities (other than small health plans) to begin using their National Provider Identifier.
"The enforcement guidance clarifies that covered entities that have been making a good faith effort to comply with the NPI provisions may, for up to 12 months, implement contingency plans that could include accepting legacy provider numbers on HIPAA transactions in order to maintain operations and cash flows." said CMS Acting Administrator Leslie Norwalk, Esq.
CMS stated that it extended the deadline after it became apparent many covered entities would not be able to fully comply.
The NPI is an identifier that will be used by covered entities to identify healthcare providers, eliminating the current need for multiple identifiers for the same provider. The NPI replaces all "legacy" identifiers that are currently being used, such as Medicaid provider IDs, individual plan provider IDs, UPINs, etc., and will be required for use on healthcare claims and other HIPAA transactions.
CMS encourages health care providers that have not yet obtained NPIs to do so immediately by visiting the National Plan/Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) Web site, and to use their NPIs in HIPAA transactions as soon as possible. Further information concerning this issue is available on the CMS Web site.