CMS sticks to National Provider Identifier deadline

From Modern Healthcare (free subscription required):

The CMS is going forward with implementing a long-delayed federal requirement that electronic claims, including those of Medicare, be submitted using the National Provider Identifier, beginning today. The CMS is claiming both it and the nation are ready as it brushed aside recent requests by healthcare organizations to postpone by six more months the effective deadline for compliance, which was originally specified by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.

Allison Henry, a CMS spokeswoman, said 2.5 million individuals and organizations have applied for NPI alpha-numeric identifiers since “enumeration” began in May 2005. That’s up from the 1.9 million NPIs issued through April 2007, just before the CMS extended the deadline for one year.

Regarding the transition to the NPI, Steve Speil, senior vice president of health finance and policy for the Federation of American Hospitals, declared its for-profit hospital members, “ready, willing and able” to comply. But George Arges, senior director of the health data-management group at the American Hospital Association, said, “A lot of institutional providers have done the work, but there is still a fairly high percentage, more than I would like to see, who aren’t ready,” Arges said.