NPI (National Provider Identifier)

What is an NPI?

The National Provider Identifier (NPI) is a unique, 10-digit identification number assigned to healthcare providers and entities in the United States. The NPI is a standard established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996. Its primary purpose is to simplify healthcare administrative processes and improve efficiency by providing a standardized way to identify healthcare providers.

NPIs apply to both providers and healthcare entities. There are a few important differences to note between the two:

  • Type 1 NPIs are unique and permanent. Every provider (including nurses and counselors) has an NPI and their NPI is never reassigned, even if they stop practicing or are deceased. There is a 1:1 relationship between provider and NPI - in other words, every provider gets one NPI.
  • Type 2 NPIs apply to healthcare entities, such as clinics, hospitals, and pharmacies. Many locations in Ribbon's /locationsdirectory have a corresponding NPI. However, there is a lack of standardization in how these NPIs should be used. NPIs can apply to individual clinics (try searching for NPI 1487840252 in NPPES) or entire organizations.


  • Can I search for providers by NPI?
    -> Yes! Check out the Find a Provider Guide