NJVMA wins NPI exemption for veterinarians

State backtracks on law designed to track Medicare/Medicaid fraud

September 9, 2008 (published)
By Jennifer Fiala

Trenton, N.J. — New Jersey veterinarians are no longer required to obtain National Provider Identification (NPI) numbers, yet all prescription blanks still must be serially numbered by Oct. 1.

At press time, the state’s consumer affairs department agreed to exempt veterinarians from part of a new law mandating that veterinarians acquire NPI numbers and pre-print their prescriptions with the 10-digit code that normally applies only to health care providers and suppliers that bill Medicare.

Veterinarians should be excused from the NPI provision, the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association (NJVMA) petitioned, because it’s designed to create a tracking mechanism to address Medicare and Medicaid prescription scams. It also might have caused veterinarians to be accountable to privacy laws that apply to physicians.

“They (veterinarians) would have been sucked into the Medicare and Medicaid reporting bureaucracy,” says Rick Alampi, NJVMA executive director. “To my knowledge, there haven’t been too many veterinary patients committing Medicare fraud.”

Alampi now is researching how veterinarians who’ve already filed for NPI numbers can unsubscribe. According to government officials, a number of practitioners have already obtained them.

In the meantime, he reminds New Jersey veterinarians that starting next month, they need to serially number their prescription blanks, which also must feature Drug Enforcement Administration and license numbers that are printed on non-reproducible paper.

“Every once in a while you get a win,” Alampi says. “This one is good for veterinary medicine.”

VIN News Service commentaries are opinion pieces presenting insights, personal experiences and/or perspectives on topical issues by members of the veterinary community. To submit a commentary for consideration, email

Information and opinions expressed in letters to the editor are those of the author and are independent of the VIN News Service. Letters may be edited for style. We do not verify their content for accuracy.