The CMS has, in effect, pushed back by one year the looming deadline for compliance with a provision of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that would have required all claims to be accompanied by a national provider identifier, or NPI.
"CMS made the decision to announce this guidance on its enforcement approach after it became apparent that many covered entities would not be able to fully comply with the NPI standard by May 23, 2007," according to a CMS statement late Monday. "This guidance would protect covered entities from enforcement action if they continue to act in good faith to come into compliance, and they develop and implement contingency plans to enable them and their trading partners to continue to move toward compliance."
The Englewood, Colo.-based Medical Group Management Association today announced its support of the contingency plan, but the delay of one year still causes some concern for the physician group practice association.
"MGMA continues to worry about the NPI-readiness of essential industry partners," the trade group said in a news release. "The lack of a clear data-dissemination policy and access to NPIs through the agency's national Plan and Provider Enumeration System has hindered industry efforts to meet the original compliance date." -- by Joseph Conn