In The Know

New CMS Rule Requires Digital Contact Information in NPPES

June 24, 2020 – The recently passed CMS Interoperability and Patient Access Rule mandated a centralized directory of provider electronic addresses for data exchange be published by the National Plan & Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) as part of the requirement to promote interoperability. The purpose of providing digital contact information is to improve interoperability and the efficiency and effectiveness of electronic health information exchange.

The Rule states that providers must input their digital contact information into NPPES by 6/30/2020, or they will be subject to public reporting for non-compliance during the second half of 2020.  While the ability for providers to input their digital contact information in NPPES has been available since June 2018, providers have not been required to provide the data to receive an NPI number.

If you are unsure about what information to provide, Direct secure messaging is a CMS-approved method of transport permitted for use in the NPPES directory as a digital contact method. etHIN Direct is an inexpensive, HIPAA-compliant healthcare-only email messaging system that allows providers to securely send and receive referrals, patient PHI, and have secure one-to-one communication with other healthcare providers. etHIN also uses Direct as one of several transport methods for participants using Alerting services.

It has been reported that some providers have used their work or personal email address in the NPPES directory.  It is important to know that CMS emphasizes the importance of NOT using your work or personal email address as your digital contact information in NPPES, as neither of those are secure methods of transporting PHI.

The contact information in NPPES will be used by hospitals and other providers to send event notifications, PHI, and referrals if they are using NPPES as a resource to obtain your digital contact information.  Protection of PHI is a top priority for etHIN, and using etHIN Direct will provide peace of mind, knowing that your confidential communications are securely encrypted and that you have found a simple, inexpensive way to comply with the CMS requirement to provide appropriate digital contact information.

Contact etHIN today at 865-691-8433, ext 1, or email info@ethin.org to learn more about etHIN Direct.



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