How To Apply For An NPI Number for Optometry

What is an NPI Number?

It’s simple, an NPI = National Provider Identifier. It is a unique 10-digit identification number issued to health care providers in the USA by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

how to get your npi number

Why do you need an NPI Number?

  • Because health care plans are required to identify you, an optometrist, by your NPI number. Also you must have an NPI for use in all HIPAA transactions.
  • You can use it as an identifier on prescriptions, although your NPI is NOT your license number.
  • Your EMR system can identify you and the patient records you worked on with this NPI number.
  • To keep a record of any unlawful activity as a health care practitioner.

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About Matt Geller

Matthew Geller
Dr. Matt Geller is a technology entrepreneur with a track record of developing successful online platforms to solve problems in the healthcare space. Matt is an optometrist in San Diego and is the founder of, and the co-founder of!


  1. If you are doing fill in work at different practices are you suppose to update your NPI number? If so, how? Is there a difference between “connections” and “employers” for that? Do you leave old fill in places addresses up indefinitely?

    • Matthew Geller

      I am a little confused with your question. If you are doing fill in work, be sure to put that on your NPI registration online. Take it down when you are through identifying with that practice. I am unsure about what you mean “between connections and employers”.

  2. Thanks for the fast reply. I’lll try to clear things up. When you log on to to manage your NPI, there is the option to add an employer under my profile tab at the bottom under “employer information” or you can go to the my connections page and become a surrogate for a provider. I’m not sure which is appropriate for fill in work. Also if you do the employer route it asks if you are an authorized employer or a delegated official for that provider, I also don’t understand which you would put for fill-in work.

    • Matthew Geller

      Hey! I would avoid the “surrogate for a provider” option. That does not seem to fall in line with your practicing as an OD. Fill in is simply a word you and I use to designate what your day-to-day employment situation is like. NPPES / legal only care about where you are working. You are either an independent contractor or and employee, but regardless of how many days/times/hours you are still employed in some fashion or another. Also, I would say you are a delegated official. At least this is what I did… To be honest I am not 100% certain but I have not run into any issues what so ever. Really you are listing the information for record keeping / tracking purposes so the government understands where you are practicing. I hope this helps!!

  3. Hi,
    If you are a fill-in doc and have not found a place to fill-in as of yet…can you still obtain an npi number?

  4. If you work at 2 separate practices, will you need 2 NPI #’s?

  5. This article is so helpful! As a new graduate it is hard to figure out all the logistics of becoming a doctor and this website is a useful guide!

  6. If you work at 2 separate locations, do you need 2 NPI #’s? When applying for the NPI #, I was not given any option to add another practice location…….so I could only input one of the practices…..

  7. Michelle Biaggi

    What is the purpose of listing the practice location to apply for the NPI? Will this address need to match the practice address I use when applying to insurance panels?

    • Antonio Chirumbolo

      Hey Michelle,

      Applying for the NPI requires that you put an address. It does not need to match the practice address you use when applying for insurance panels. When I graduated, I did not yet have a job so I used my home address at the time. After I got a job and knew where I was practicing, I used those addresses for credentialing purposes.

  8. Evan Dunn

    If I am an independent contractor who will be creating a PLLC would I register as a “sole proprietor?”

    • Matthew Geller

      Hey Evan,

      Great question. On the main screen when you are about to register for your NPI, you want to choose Individual Provider, not Healthcare Organization.

      As optometrists, we are physicians and therefore Individual Providers. Healthcare Organizations are things like Ambulance Companies, Clinics, Group Practices, Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs),
      Home Health Agencies (HHAs), Hospitals, Laboratories, Nursing Homes, Pharmacies, Residential Treatment Centers and Suppliers of Durable Medical Equipment (DME).

      Your PLLC in this case your shell for your business entity, but still, it sounds like you are an Individual Provider.

      Is this what you meant, or were you referring to a different part of the application process?


  9. Lin Guo

    Do you guys know which Taxonomy Code a optometrist should use when you apply for NPI number? I only find ophthalmology. Thanks!

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