The NPI is a ten-digit number assigned by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to each healthcare provider (CMS). It is a mandatory identification for Medicare services as well as other payers such as private healthcare insurers. Your NPI is permanent and follows you everywhere you go, regardless of employment or location changes. Your NPI profile includes your name, office contact information, and specialization.
It’s possible that your cell phone number or home address appears on numerous internet directories and websites since it was put as your primary contact information on NPI rather than your workplace phone and address. Perhaps someone else (such as a residency program coordinator) completed your NPI profile on your behalf and utilized personal contact information inadvertently. When you first filled out your NPI application, you may not have understood that this information would be made public. Because many online directories rely on public NPI data, make sure your NPI profile has the information you want patients to see.
How you can fix it?
You have control over your online persona. The first step is to discover what might be available.
Choose your contact information wisely
If you’re a new resident who hasn’t yet applied for an NPI, you should consider whether or not to provide your personal cell phone number, as this could compromise your privacy. NPIs are typically given to graduating medical students, so consult with your residency program director to determine which number and address will be most useful.
Know what information your NPI profile has
You may not recall what information you provided in your NPI if you already have one. So go to the NPI database and look for your data. If you need to make any changes, you can do so by creating an account on the NPI website.
Take a peek at your profile
Once you’ve logged in to your account, select “edit” to update your contact information on your profile. To access your profile, simply click. You control what information is made public and who has access to your personal contact information. Please contact the Support team if you have any additional questions.
Keep your personal information private
Rent residences and get a P.O. Box, or buy houses under a business name, if you want additional privacy. When your house is held by Toothless LLC and all of your personal mail is delivered to a P.O. Box, it’s more difficult to identify your address. This isn’t foolproof, but when simple Internet searches provide less information, the attempted patient will give up or instead follow you home.
Three steps to avoid NPI theft
If your NPI is stolen, millions of dollars in unlawful claims or hundreds of fake prescriptions can be assigned to you before you or anybody else realizes what happened. If this happens, you might be the subject of a government investigation to rule you out as a suspect and/or determine if you’re the one who has to pay the government back for the fraud.
CMS is also likely to stop paying you while the investigation is ongoing. This can have a significant negative impact on your finances, reputation, and, as a result, your profession. There are steps you can do now to avoid your NPI being stolen and potentially preventing large-scale healthcare fraud.
Be alert of your surroundings
Share your NPI with care and caution. Be cautious of who is utilizing your NPI and for what reason if you do share it.
Examine the way your NPI is being utilized. Monitor claims and reimbursements, for example, to ensure that invoiced services match your income. If they don’t match, it’s a sign that your reimbursements are being diverted to a fraudulent address. Also, look over your credit record for any strange activity in your name. This is yet another sign that your NPI has been hacked.
Examine and revise
Examine your enrollment information with payers on a regular basis to ensure that nothing has changed. Take the time to update all enrollment information when your practice location or employer changes. To that end, CMS requires you to notify CMS within 30 days of any changes to any information you provided to receive your NPI.
The procedure of clearing your name and gaining relief from suspected financial liability is difficult if your NPI is taken. However, CMS established the Center for Program Integrity (CPI) in 2011 to assist victims of NPI theft and expedite the exoneration process. Contact CPI right away if you suspect NPI theft.
There are a few basic things you may take to prevent your NPI number from being stolen. You should safeguard your NPI in the same way that you would your Social Security number, and at the absolute least, monitor its use on a regular basis, just as you would your credit score.
Preventive interventions aren’t always effective. If your NPI is stolen, file the relevant reports and notifications, investigate and determine the cause of the loss, and, if necessary, launch a lawsuit. It is preferable to take action as soon as possible. Stopping healthcare fraud schemes before they spread saves taxpayer money and keeps healthcare from becoming more expensive.