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National Provider Identifier Standard (NPI)

Data Dissemination

Dissemination of Data from the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) Began September 4, 2007

NPPES health care provider data that are disclosable under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) will be disclosed to the public by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  In accordance with the e-FOIA Amendments, CMS has disclosed these data via the Internet.  Data is available in two forms:

  1. A query-only database, known as the NPI Registry.
  2. A downloadable file.

CMS made FOIA-disclosable NPPES health care provider data available beginning Tuesday, September 4, 2007.  The NPI Registry become operational on September 4th and CMS posted the downloadable file on September 12th.

Some of the key data elements that are FOIA-Disclosable are:

  • NPI
  • Entity Type Code (1-Individual or 2-Organization)
  • Replacement NPI
  • Provider Name (First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, Prefix, Suffix, Credential(s), OR the Legal Business Name for Organizations)
  • Provider Other Name (First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, OR 'Doing Business As' Name, Former Legal Business Name, Other Name. for Organizations)
  • Provider Business Mailing Address (First line address, Second line address, City, State, Postal Code, and Country Code if outside U.S., Telephone Number, Fax Number)
  • Provider Business Location Address (First line address, Second line address, City, State, Postal Code, and Country Code if outside U.S., Telephone Number, Fax Number)
  • Healthcare Provider Taxonomy Code(s)
  • Other Provider Identifier(s)
  • Other Provider Identifier Type Code
  • Provider Enumeration Date
  • Last Update Date
  • NPI Deactivation Reason Code
  • NPI Deactivation Date
  • NPI Reactivation Date
  • Provider Gender Code
  • Provider License Number
  • Provider License Number State Code
  • Authorized Official Contact Information (First Name, Middle Name, Last Name, Title or Position, Telephone Number)

The delay in the dissemination of NPPES data does not alter the requirement that HIPAA covered entities must comply with the requirements of the NPI Final Rule no later than May 23, 2008.  All NPI contingencies that may be in place must be lifted by that date.

Query-only Database (the NPI Registry)

UserIDs and passwords are not needed to use the NPI Registry.  There is no charge to use the NPI Registry.  It can be found at https://nppes.cms.hhs.gov/NPPES/NPIRegistryHome.do. 

The NPI Registry operates in a real-time environment.

The NPI Registry enables users to query the NPPES by, for example, the NPI or the name of the provider.  The NPI Registry will return the results of the query to the user, and the user will click on the record(s) he/she wants to see.  The NPI Registry will then display the FOIA-disclosable data for those records.  

Downloadable Files

There is no charge to download the files containing the NPPES FOIA-disclosable health care provider data.  UserIDs and passwords are not needed to download these files. 

The downloadable files contain the FOIA-disclosable NPPES health care provider data for health care providers who have been assigned NPIs.    The current file is available at:  http://nppesdata.cms.hhs.gov/cms_NPI_files.html.   (An underscore precedes and follows "NPI".) 

In October, CMS will make available a file that will replace the current file.  This will be a full replacement file, not an update file.  It will contain the FOIA-disclosable NPPES health care provider data as of a certain date which will reflect updates and changes that were applied to the NPPES records of enumerated health care providers between the date the first file was created and the date the full replacement file is created.  When the full replacement file is available for download, it will be the only file available for download.  Update files will not be necessary.  Because it will be a full replacement file, there will be no need to keep the first file available.  CMS will follow this same procedure each month.  As a result of this change, only one file will be available for downloading at any given time.  This is an operational change from what is reflected in the NPPES Data Dissemination Notice and in our outreach documents, including the Frequently Asked Questions on NPPES data dissemination.   This change will benefit users because it will eliminate any potential problems that users might have encountered in trying to develop ways to link updates, possibly from records that would have appeared in multiple monthly update files, to records that would have been included in the initial file.

Facts about the Downloadable File (the first file and all full replacement files):

  1. The downloadable file is a Zip file that is a compressed archive file that contains (a) a "Read Me" document, (b) a Code Value document, (c) a Header File document, and (d) the FOIA-disclosable NPPES health care provider data file.    
  2. The data file (item (d) above) is a comma-separated value (CSV) file containing both the data and the header.  Each data value is enclosed by a pair of double-quotes.  If a data element does not have a value present, this will be indicated in the file by two double-quotes in a row. 
  3. The downloadable file is approximately 340 MB compressed (approximately 800 MB in size when decompressed). 
  4. It is intended that the file be downloaded and the data be imported into a relational database, or otherwise manipulated, by individuals with the requisite technical expertise.     
  5. Shareware text editors are recommended for users who wish to view the data file and/or perform simple searches.  During testing, CMS was able to use Helios Textpad, Boxer Text Editor and Microsoft Access 2003 successfully to view the file.
  6. There is no Help Desk or other technical support available from CMS, the NPI Enumerator, or any other CMS contractor for downloading, manipulating, or using the file.

Important Notes:

  1. Contrary to our earlier NPPES data dissemination outreach information (including the FAQs), CMS has made the decision not to make FOIA-disclosable NPPES health care provider data available if the NPI has been deactivated.  This means that the FOIA-disclosable data for a health care provider (individual or organization) who deactivated an NPI will not be found in the NPI Registry or in the downloadable file.  CMS made this decision for three reasons:  (1) deactivated records in NPPES cannot be viewed or edited by the health care providers who had been assigned those NPIs (these health care providers would have no way to update, change, or delete [where permitted] their FOIA-disclosable NPPES data); (2) covered entities should not use deactivated NPIs in standard transactions; and (3) health care providers who have deactivated their NPIs should not use, or allow others to use, their deactivated NPIs in standard transactions.  If a health care provider cannot be located in the NPI Registry or the downloadable file, that health care provider either was not assigned an NPI or deactivated the NPI.  FOIA-disclosable data for health care providers who reactivate their NPIs will be displayed in the NPI Registry and will be included in the downloadable file.  CMS will make a future determination as to the feasibility of creating a publicly available list of deactivated NPIs and the data that should be included in such files.  If a determination is made to create such a list, CMS will make an appropriate announcement.
  2. CMS must temporarily suppress the Employer Identification Numbers (EINs) of organization providers.  CMS has discovered that some providers reported SSNs in the EIN field.  We expect that this reporting was done primarily by incorporated individuals and sole proprietors who applied for NPIs as organizations.  CMS does not want to risk the disclosure of any provider's SSN.  CMS will undertake efforts to have this problem resolved.  Once CMS believes that to be the case, we will display organizations' EINs in the downloadable file and in the NPI Registry.
  3. The NPPES Data Dissemination Notice and outreach documents from CMS encouraged health care providers to review their FOIA-disclosable NPPES data and edit it as necessary and to remove, if they wished, sensitive data from FOIA-disclosable fields that were furnished on an optional basis (i.e., data that were not required to be furnished in order to apply for an NPI).   Many health care providers have taken some or all of these actions.  To further help ensure non-disclosure of Social Security Numbers (SSNs) and IRS Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs), CMS is suppressing from display in the NPI Registry and in the downloadable files any SSNs or IRS ITINs that remain in any of the FOIA-disclosable fields in the records of health care providers who are individuals. 

Special Note for Health Care Providers:

The NPI Registry and the downloadable files will contain data from the NPPES as reported to NPPES by you, or by someone acting on your behalf, or by an organization provider's Authorized Official.  Please read Important Notes 2 and 3, above.  If the downloadable file or the NPI Registry reflects information that is incorrect, health care providers should correct that information.  At any time, providers, or someone acting on their behalf, may edit their records by going to https://nppes.cms.hhs.gov, or by obtaining a paper NPI Application/Update Form (CMS-10114) from the NPI Enumerator or from the CMS forms page (www.cms.hhs.gov/cmsforms), completing it, and mailing it to the NPI Enumerator.  Providers who need assistance in editing their records should contact the NPI Enumerator by phone at 1-800-465-3203, by email customerservice@npienumerator.com, or by letter:  NPI Enumerator, P.O. Box 6059, Fargo, ND 58108-6059. 

Informational Documents on the Data Dissemination File

Three new documents are available in the Downloads section below; these documents relate to the file containing NPPES health care provider data (see NPPES Data Dissemination Notice, published May 30, 2007, also available in the Downloads section below).  This file will be available for download from an Internet site in early September 2007.  These three documents will also be part of that downloadable file.  We are making them available separately, in advance, in response to requests from the industry.  They are: 

  • Data Dissemination File - Code Values,
  • Data Dissemination File - Read Me
  • NPIData 20050523-20070710FileHeader

FOIA-Disclosable Data Elements

The document entitled, "National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) Data Elements – Data Dissemination – Information for Providers," dated June 20, 2007, will assist providers in knowing which of the FOIA-disclosable data can be updated, changed, or deleted.  This document is located in the Downloads Section below.

Transcript from the 6/14/07 Data Dissemination Roundtable Now Posted

See the Downloads section below for the full transcript from the Data Dissemination Roundtable on June 14, 2007. 

Data Dissemination File - Code Values [PDF, 209KB] - Effective 06/09/08

Data Dissemination File - Readme [PDF, 243KB] - Effective 06/09/08

NPI Data File_Header [ZIP, 2KB] - Effective 06/09/08

Transcript from 6/14/07 Data Dissemination Roundtable [PDF 145KB]

Information on FOIA-Disclosable Data Elements in NPPES [PDF 108KB]

CMS Data Dissemination Notice CMS-6060-N [PDF 64KB]
Related Links Inside CMS
NPI Registry

NPI Downloadable File

NPPES Website

CMS Forms
Related Links Outside CMSExternal Linking Policy

There are no Related Links Outside CMS


Page Last Modified: 06/03/2008 3:49:02 PM
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