A ten digit identification number, the National Provider Identifier (NPI) is unique to each individual and assigned to healthcare providers in the United States. These numbers are issued for the purpose of making identification easy for healthcare providers in the industry across the United States.
Depending on the entity seeking the NPI, there are two different types of identification numbers that may be provided. Type I NPIs are typically provided to healthcare providers who work individually, such as physicians, dentists, physical therapists, etc. The second type of NPIs are assigned to healthcare organizations
The organization responsible for assigning NPI numbers is The National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES), but the organization that creates the NPIs is the Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). A healthcare provider has to apply for an NPI through NPPES, after which the CMS publishes the publicly relevant part of the provider's profile, which includes the provider's name, specialty (taxonomy) and practice address.
A healthcare provider can apply for an NPI in three ways.