NPI AND PTAN Difference and Relationship - complete review

 This article explains the difference between a National Provider Identifier (NPI) and a Provider Transaction Access Number (PTAN). There are no policy changes in this article.

All providers and suppliers who provide services and bill Medicare for services provided to Medicare beneficiaries must have an NPI. Upon application to a Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC), the provider or supplier will also be issued a
Provider Transaction Access Number (PTAN). While only the NPI can be submitted on claims, the PTAN is a critical number directly linked to the provider or supplier’s NPI.

Providers and suppliers receiving requests to revalidate their enrollment information have asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to clarify the differences between the NPI and the PTAN.

National Provider Identifier (NPI)

The NPI is a national standard under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Administrative Simplification provisions.

• The NPI is a unique identification number for covered health care providers.
• The NPI is issued by the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES).
• Covered health care providers and all health plans and health care clearinghouses must use the NPI in the administrative and financial transactions (for example, insurance claims) adopted under HIPAA.

• The NPI is a 10-position, intelligence-free numeric identifier (10-digit number). The NPI does not carry information about healthcare providers, such as the state in which they live or their medical specialty. This reduces the chances of insurance fraud.

• Covered providers and suppliers must share their NPI with other suppliers and providers, health plans, clearinghouses, and any entity that may need it for billing purposes.

Since May 23, 2008, Medicare has required that the NPI be used in place of all legacy provider identifiers, including the Unique Physician Identification Number (UPIN), as the unique identifier for all providers, and suppliers in HIPAA standard transactions.

You should note that individual health care providers (including physicians who are sole proprietors) may obtain only one NPI for themselves (Entity Type 1 Individual). Incorporated individuals should obtain one NPI for themselves (Entity Type 1
Individual) if they are health care providers and an additional NPI(s) for their corporation(s) (Entity Type 2 Organization). Organizations that render health care or furnish health care supplies may obtain NPIs (Entity Type 2 Organization) for their organizations and their subparts (if applicable).

For more information about the NPI, visit the NPPES website at on the CMS website.

Provider Transaction Access Number (PTAN)

A PTAN is a Medicare-only number issued to providers by MACs upon enrollment to Medicare. When a MAC approves enrollment and issues an approval letter, the letter will contain the PTAN assigned to the provider.

** The approval letter will note that NPI must be used to bill the Medicare program and that PTAN will be used to autheniticate the provider when using MAC self help tools such as IVR , internet portal , online application etc.

** The PTAN's use should generally be limited to the provider's contacts with their MAC

Where can I find my PTAN?

You can find your PTAN by doing any one of the following:

1. View the letter sent by your MAC when your enrollment in Medicare was approved.

2. Log into Internet-based PECOS. Click on the “My Enrollments” button and then “View Enrollments”. Locate the applicable enrollment and click on the “View Medicare ID Report” link which will list all of the provider or supplier’s active
PTANs in one report.

3 The provider (or, in the case of an organizational provider, an authorized or delegated official) shall send a signed written request on company letterhead to your MAC; include your legal name/legal business name, national provider identifier
(NPI), telephone and fax numbers.

Relationship of the NPI to the PTAN

The NPI and the PTAN are related to each other for Medicare purposes. A provider must have one NPI and will have one, or more, PTAN(s) related to it in the Medicare system, representing the provider’s enrollment. If the provider has relationships with one or more medical groups or practices or with multiple Medicare contractors, separate PTANS are generally assigned.

Together, the NPI and PTAN identify the provider, or supplier in the Medicare program. CMS maintains both the NPI and PTAN in the Provider Enrollment Chain & Ownership System (PECOS), the master provider and supplier enrollment system.