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Credentialing & licensing

Applying for a National Provider Identifier Number

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HIPAA provisions required the Secretary of Health and Human Services to adopt a national standard identifier for health care providers. The National Provider Identifier (NPI) is a unique, government-issued, standard identification number for individual healthcare providers and provider organizations like clinics, hospitals, schools, and group practices. You will need one prior to submitting claims or conducting other transactions specified by HIPAA. The 10-digit number is used by all health plans and does not expire or change.

How to Apply for an NPI

Applying for an identifier is a free, simple, 20- to 30-minute procedure that will save healthcare providers time and headaches in the future.

You can apply online, by mail, or through a designated CMS contractor.

To apply via a secure web-based process, visit the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) website, read the instructions carefully, complete the questionnaire, and submit your application. The website contains frequently asked questions and other helpful information.

After confirmation of your data’s receipt, you will receive your NPI via e-mail from If you have spam filtering on your e-mail interface, the reply from the NPI Enumerator with your NPI and confirmation message may be intercepted and diverted to a spam folder. If your email service supports such a feature, please be sure to check this folder regularly after submitting your data.

If you prefer to submit a paper application, contact the NPPES customer service hotline at 800.465.3203 to request a paper application form.

Receiving Your NPI

The amount of time it takes to obtain an NPI is dependent upon the volume of applications being processed at a given time, whether the application was submitted electronically or on paper, and whether the application was complete and passed all edits. A provider who submits a properly completed electronic application could have an NPI in 10 days. The paper application process takes approximately 20 business days.

To obtain your NPI, go to or call customer service at 800.465.3203.

Questions about the status of an NPI Application may be emailed to

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