What is the National Provider Identifier?
The National Provider Identifier, or NPI, is a number that Athletic Trainers are encouraged to register for, so that they may be counted among the numbers of healthcare professionals. It increases the credibility of the individual and of the Athletic Training profession. Part of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the NPI is required for all “covered” healthcare professionals when working with HIPAA electronic transactions. The NPI number is a standard, 10 digit identifier that contains no embedded information about the healthcare provider to which it belongs.
Athletic trainers in Illinois are not required to have an NPI number to practice, although it is highly encouraged. The process to obtain one is simple, takes little time, and is free. Please visit the NATA website for more information, and for specific instructions on how to register for an NPI number.
Why should I get a NPI if it isn't required?
- Your NPI is the way the government counts the number of healthcare professionals. Having more athletic trainers be counted as healthcare professionals directly affects: reimbursement efforts, sports safety legislation, lobbying efforts, and recognition by CMS among others.
- Nowadays, having an NPI is a requirement to serve as an NATA volunteer and to apply for some scholarships and awards.
- Employers may mandate that you have an NPI, and some electronic medical records require it.
- Even if you're an athletic training student, you can still get an NPI and be counted. When you become certified, you're encouraged to change your designation from "student" to "professional", but you don't need to get a new NPI. It will stay with you throughout your career.