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CMS Regulations & Guidance National Provider Identifier Standard (NPI): EFI

Guidance for the Electronic File Interchange.


Issued by: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Issue Date: February 11, 2020

Electronic File Interchange (EFI), also referred to as "bulk enumeration," is a process by which a health care provider or group of providers can have a particular organization (the "EFIO") apply for National Provider Identifiers (NPI) on their behalf.   In other words, rather than a provider or group of providers submitting a paper or web NPI application, the EFIO obtains an NPI for him/her/them via the submission of an electronic file.  Because a file can contain thousands, even tens of thousands, of providers' applications, the administrative burden on both the provider community and CMS is greatly reduced when this process is utilized.

EFI is an alternative to health care providers having to apply for their NPIs via the web-based or paper application process. After the National Plan and Provider Enumeration System (NPPES) processes a file, it makes available to the organization a downloadable file containing the NPIs of the enumerated health care providers. Interested health industry organizations should avail themselves of the EFI materials available on this page and from the NPPES page (see Related Links Inside CMS section below) before downloading and completing the Certification Statement (available at the NPPES page) and registering as EFI Organizations. A completed Certification Statement must be approved by CMS before an interested health industry organization can participate in EFI.

Below are several documents that explain the EFI process in more detail:

  • EFI Summary - This document furnishes a general overview of how the EFI process works. (Revised as of 12/24/2016)
  • EFI Certification Statement – Any organization (often referred to as an EFI Organization, or EFIO) that wishes to submit NPI files via EFI must complete and submit this certification statement to the NPI Enumerator.  We will be posting the certification statement on this page very shortly.  Note that EFIOs should not submit the certification statement prior to the availability of EFI.
  • EFI User Manual – This manual provides step-by-step instructions on how EFI works from a systems perspective.  Unlike the EFI Summary and FAQs document, which is geared more towards explaining the policy aspects of EFI, the User Manual contains screen prints, screen descriptions, etc., that show how EFI actually operates in practice. (Effective as of 12/02/2016)
  • EFI Technical Companion Guide – This guide contains important information regarding the formatting of EFI files. (Effective as of 12/10/2018)

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DISCLAIMER: The contents of this database lack the force and effect of law, except as authorized by law (including Medicare Advantage Rate Announcements and Advance Notices) or as specifically incorporated into a contract. The Department may not cite, use, or rely on any guidance that is not posted on the guidance repository, except to establish historical facts.