CMS considers contractors for identifier program

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is considering using federal supply schedule contractors to operate an existing database to assign health care providers a unique identifying number.

CMS is seeking responses from General Services Administration schedule contractors and small businesses that can meet the requirements of a National Provider Identifier Enumerator, according to a solicitation on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site.

The enumerator would be charged with assigning identifying numbers to doctors and other providers, using the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System.

The numbering system was established as part of the Health Information Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. A final rule for the identifiers was published in 2004.

As of July, more than 2.9 million identifying numbers have been assigned, including 2.2 million to doctors and individual providers, and 700,000 to organizational providers.

CMS wants a contractor that can manage all the day-to-day aspects of managing the database, including assigning the numbers, running a call center, and correcting errors.

Contractors are invited to submit ideas until Sept. 18. The centers expects to turn the system over to the contractor starting March 19, 2010.

CMS awarded a contract for the national identifier system to Fox Systems Inc. in 2005, valued at $24.5 million, according to the Input Inc. market research firm in Reston, Va. That contract is set to expire in May 2010, Input said.


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