CMS: Providers must use single ID

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has chosen the National Provider Identifier as the standard ID for filing and processing health care claims and other transactions.

A single identifying number that will not change over time is the latest step in implementing the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Unique IDs will be issued to providers through the National Provider System that CMS is developing. They will replace all legacy identifiers, CMS said.

The identifier should reduce costs and simplify administration of Medicare, Medicaid and the nation's health system by eliminating the multiple identification numbers assigned to providers by various health plans. Providers who transmit any transactions electronically must obtain an identifier by May 23, 2007.

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