There is apparent stir and movement going on for this term in Washington, to establish a true need – a Provider Identification Number that covers all physicians, along with a Patient Identification Number for all patients.

Well, the PIN sounds a lot like the NPI – and the NPI sounds like it will need to be cast adrift.  Remember, the NPI was the replacement for the UPIN, or Unique Physician Identification Number, that was jettisoned as being inadequate.

I recall that someone crosschecked three databases for consistency:

  • The Provider information on the NPI database.
  • The Provider information on the UPIN database.
  • Reality.  (i.e. that the actual provider workplace and contact information was correct.

Correlation?  3% correct.  Not 3% error – 3% correct.

The only solution?  Start another provider identifier number through a whole different bureaucracy!  (PS – the UPIN has fallen into disuse, but is still technically “required.”)

Trust your government to keep close tabs on the UNIVERSAL PATIENT IDENTIFIER NUMBER.  Considering what a mess the provider numbers have been to maintain, hold on for the patient UPIN’s.

No doubt, a new document will be required when you are born, change your name, move, or die.  Sounds easy.