The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services discontinued the use of Unique Provider Identification Numbers, or UPINs, in 2007 and replaced them with National Provider Identifier numbers, or NPIs. Individuals can find a physician on the National Plan & Provider Enumeration System NPI registry search.
To use the NPI registry, go to the National Plan & Provider Enumeration System main page, and click on Individual Provider or Organizational Provider under Search the NPI Registry. In the search engine, either type in the NPI number or the physician's first name, last name and contact information for the physician's practice. The search engine attempts an incomplete search if at least two characters are entered in a field.
The National Provider Identifier is a unique 10-digit number assigned to all physicians, midwives, nurses, dentists and other medical practitioners according to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Medical organizations such as hospitals, nursing homes, home health care agencies, pharmacies and medical equipment companies are also required to have NPIs for HIPAA transactions, even if a billing agency aids in the transaction. Health care providers retain the same NPIs once they are assigned, even if they change locations or jobs. Health industry support personnel such as orderlies, housekeeping staff, admissions personnel and billing personnel do not receive NPIs.