A national provider directory is a registry of health care providers and health plans developed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the agency states. The National Plan & Provider Enumeration System assigns each provider in the registry a unique number to be used for billing and administrative purposes.
The National Provider Identification Registry provides information on the geographical location of providers via Google mapping that gives both the practice location and mailing address, states the National Plan & Provider Enumeration System website. The system is designed to improve the efficiency of transmitting health information electronically.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 requires covered health care providers to share their 10-digit NPI number with clearinghouses, other providers, health plans or any entity for billing, explains the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.