Travel Nursing 101: NPIs and Why You Need One
What is an NPI?
The term NPI stands for National Provider Identifier and, as the name suggests, helps uniquely identify healthcare providers and entities. This system of identification was developed in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the transmission of health information electronically and was adopted and established as the HIPAA administrative standard in 2004. The number itself is a 10-digit numeric identifier that does not connect to any further information about the provider such as state of practice, specialization, etc. An NPI will never change for a provider or entity even if the address, name, etc change.
Should a Travel Nurse Get an NPI?
Well, of course, the short answer is yes – that’s why we are talking about it! NPIs are not yet required for nurses by all medical facilities and organizations. However, as we approach a more digitized medical record system, having a HIPAA regulated identifier will become more necessary and hospitals have already begun requiring them of their nurses and other healthcare providers within their medical facilities. We, of course, always recommend evolving with the healthcare system and having an NPI will help you do that.
While we encourage all healthcare providers to begin getting NPIs, we think it’s even more important for travel nurses. The very definition of your job, has you moving from one hospital to the next and working within multiple states. Unlike nurses licenses that are tied to a specific state, NPIs will be the same number nationwide. This means that you would have one identifier that would follow you throughout your entire career, no matter location or speciality change. The world is moving in this direction and we encourage you to move with it!
The Upside of Having an NPI
The main benefit of having a National Provider Identifier for you is job opportunities. When a nurse has an NPI number, they automatically become more appealing to healthcare facilities. Currently all health insurance plans use NPIs for their claims and some claims can be negatively affected or even denied if NPIs are missing for anyone involved in patient care. If hospitals and other medical facilities run the risk of losing money on unpaid claims, nurses with NPIs have an immediate competitive advantage.
Is it Easy to Get an NPI?
The benefits clearly outweigh the costs when considering getting an NPI because it’s free! The easiest way to apply is online at the CMS National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES). Click here to get started! You will be expected to create an account and then they will walk through the step-by-step process of applying.
Not interested in having another online account? You can also apply by mail. Print the online application here to get started!