CMS ANNOUNCES THE NATIONAL PROVIDER IDENTIFIER (NPI) ENUMERATOR CONTRACTOR The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced today it has taken an important step in helping health care providers obtain the new standard unique health care provider identification (NPI) with selection of Fox Systems, Inc. as the contractor to perform the support operations for the project. As “enumerator” for NPI project, Fox will process applications from health care providers and operate a help desk to assist health care providers in obtaining the new standard unique health care provider identification number (the NPI). The assignment of NPIs will begin later this year. The standard unique identifier for health care providers is mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and will eventually become the primary health care provider identifier for standard transactions. Adoption of the NPI is the latest step in implementing the Administrative Simplification provisions of HIPAA. The Secretary of Health and Human Services has already adopted standards for electronic transactions and code sets, the employer identifier, and the privacy and security of protected health information. Health care providers do not need to take any action to apply for NPIs at this time. CMS will announce when the system that will handle the assignment of NPIs will be ready to accept applications. Health care providers may begin applying for NPIs on that date. At the time CMS is ready to accept applications for an NPI, health care providers will be urged to apply. While the NPI must be used on standard transactions with health plans, other than small health plans, no later than May 23, 2007, health care providers should not begin using the NPI until health plans have issued specific instructions on accepting the NPI in standard transactions on or before May 23, 2007. Fox Systems is a national leader in providing consulting services and solutions to county, state and federal agencies. Fox is being supported in this work by its subcontractor, Noridian Administrative Services (NAS) of Fargo , North Dakota . Information on NPIs can be found at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/hipaa/hipaa2/regulations/identifiers/default.asp, by calling the HIPAA Hotline: 1-866-282-0659, or by writing to AskHIPAA@cms.hhs.gov. CMS will announce information about how to contact Fox regarding the NPI as the NPI implementation date approaches.
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