The National Provider Identifier (NPI) is a government-issued, standard identification number for individual health care providers, clinics, and group practices. This number will replace social security numbers, individual tax ID numbers and other identifiers on standard electronic health care transactions. Starting on May 23, 2007, any health care provider who uses standard electronic transactions will be required by federal law to start including NPI numbers on all electronic transactions. Although some dental offices are not required to obtain an NPI number, the ADA encourages all providers to obtain a number due to its built in security features and other advantages.
Obtaining an NPI is easy and free. The application can be found here and takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete. Some companies have sent solicitations to dental offices about selling NPI reference materials, but the ADA has emphasized this service is unnecessary.
Additional, information regarding NPI numbers can be found on the ADA website, questions can be answered by email at NPI@ada.org or by phone at 1-800-465-3203.