Media Contact

Larissa Doucette

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has become aware of cases in which veterinarians are told, incorrectly, that they must provide a National Provider Identifier (NPI) number for prescriptions they have written to be dispensed. The agency has issued a clarification, stressing that veterinarians do not meet the regulatory definition of “health care provider,” and thus may not obtain NPI numbers. The clarification also states that “Any entity that insists veterinarians obtain an NPI [is] attempting to require veterinarians to obtain NPIs fraudulently.” CMS also notes that “if a veterinarian fulfills the definition of ‘health care provider’ in a profession other than furnishing veterinary services,” such as if they are also a nurse practitioner, “the veterinarian would be eligible for an NPI but would select a Nurse Practitioner code (not a Veterinarian code) from the Healthcare Provider Taxonomy Code Set when applying for an NPI.”