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The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 requires the adoption of a standard unique identifier for health care providers, the National Provider Identifier (NPI). The NPI final rule issued January 23, 2004, adopted the NPI as this standard. The NPI is 10 digits in length and will replace health care provider identifiers in use today, including the nine-digit Medi-Cal provider number. To comply with this requirement, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) developed the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) to assign these unique identifiers.

NPPES began accepting applications and issuing NPIs on May 23, 2005. All health care providers (e.g., physicians, suppliers, hospitals, etc.) are encouraged to obtain their NPI as quickly as possible. A hard copy application may be requested by contacting the NPPES contractor at 1-800-465-3203 (NPI toll-free). Applications can be submitted online on the National Provider Identifier page of the NPPES website or by mail to:

    NPI Enumerator
    P.O. Box 6059
    Fargo, ND 58108-6059

Related Links:
https://nppes.cms.hhs.gov – To apply for an NPI
http://www.wedi.org – Provider based NPI Workgroups and Analysis (Subparts)