Do Nurses Have NPI numbers?

a group of nurses

Just like how our social security number follows us from the beginning to the end of life (curse you taxes!), an NPI number can follow a health care provider for their entire careers!

NPI numbers, known as a National Provider Identifier, can help eliminate the need for changing identifiers and help health care providers bill for services more easily.

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Do Nurses (RNs, LPNs, APRNs) Need NPI Numbers?

Nurses do not immediately get assigned an NPI. However, it's highly recommended they work to acquire one as soon as they begin their careers. This is not only recommended but required by law for APRNs or Advanced Practice Registered Nurses.

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What is an NPI?

The National Provider Identification is a 10-digit number that's used to uniquely identify a healthcare provider for billing and administrative purposes. Use of the NPI  began 10 years after the implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, also known as HIPAA.

Since 2006 following the implementation of HIPAA, NPI's have been used to help aid patient privacy and identify providers based solely on their name.

NPI's do not specify what practice or specialty a provider is in, their state or location, or other information on where they practice. NPI's can therefore be found in a variety of locations, for instance, on medication prescriptions and in national databases.

Benefits of Having an NPI Number

NPI's have several benefits for healthcare providers, including:

  • Efficiently transfer HIPAA sensitive patient information
  • Give you a unique, standard identifier throughout your career
  • Coordinate financial transactions with ease
  • Prevent healthcare fraud

Which Nurses Need an NPI?

nurses

Not all nurses need to obtain an API. If you're a registered nurse, however, you will need to obtain an API if you work as an advanced practice registered nurse. These nurses have several specialties, much like physicians do, including:

  • Certified Nurse Practicioners. CNP's can work in disease prevention, health education, and can have acute or primary care responsibilities with families.
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists. CNS's can diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses, as well as work in health promotion and disease management.
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. A nurse anesthetist (CRNA) has a vital role during surgical procedures, working with all things related to anesthesia before, during and after the operation.
  • Certified Nurse-Midwife. A CNM plays a crucial part during a woman's pregnancy, and can provide aid during childbirth and in the OBGYN setting. They can also provide care for sexually transmitted diseases and work for public health.

If you're an APRN with a master's degree, you can work to treat state Medicare recipients and bill directly for your services. You must first, however, obtain an NPI to benefit from such services.

Can a Registered Nurse Get an NPI Number?

You're not prohibited from obtaining an NPI if you're working as an RN, and in fact, this can be beneficial to your employer in case they need to bill for your services in their practice!

Here's How to Get an NPI Number:

college student researching nursing schools on computer

Visit the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services or CMS website to view information on the NPI Registration process.

You must also fill out a hard-copy application form CMS-10114. You can contact the NPI Enumerator at their phone number 1-800-465-3203 or TTY 1- 800-692-2326. They can help guide you in the right direction to obtain an NPI.

Explore NPI Options

If you work as an APRN, you might already have an NPI and are reaping all the wonderful benefits of this unique number for your services.

If you're an RN or RN student wondering how to become an APRN and finally get an NPI, look at schools on our website for more information on expanding your nursing career!

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Search our school database to find schools and get information on the right programs for you. (Don't worry, it's fast and free!)

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Frequently Asked Questions

NPI numbers are used to bill for Medicare and Medicaid Services. They're also used to track HIPAA standard transactions. DEA numbers (drug enforcement administration number) are used specifically for the prescribing and administering of controlled substances (for example, narcotics).

Visit the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services or CMS website for information on the NPI Registration process. You can also contact the NPI Enumerator at their phone number 1-800-465-3203 or TTY 1- 800-692-2326. They can help guide you in the right direction to obtain an NPI.

For the most part, registered nurses probably won't need an NPI number while advanced practice nurses will probably need to get one.

National Provider Identification, NPI for short is a 10-digit number that's used to uniquely identify a healthcare provider for billing and administrative purposes.

Healthcare professionals such as:

  • Nurses
  • Physicians (MD, DO)
  • Physician Assistants (PAs)
  • Physical Therapists
  • Counselors
  • Dentists

Just to name a few.

Anyone who meets the definition of health care provider as described at 45 CFR 160.103 is eligible to obtain a National Provider Identifier or NPI (for short)