Information Bulletin, December 1997


Submission Issues
1998 Data Collection Issues
Data Content Issues
Internet News

Submission Issues

Once again we want to thank all those facilities for their cooperation in making 1996 the most successful data collection year in SPARCS history. The 1996 SPARCS Annual Report is currently being generated based on the inpatient data reported to SPARCS prior to November 1, 1997, which is 99% of the expected amount. Facilities still missing 1996 inpatient data have been contacted and will be listed as part of the narrative in the 1996 ARS tables. Those affected facilities should be reminded that it is not too late to submit 1996 data to SPARCS, but any 1996 data submitted now will not be included in the ARS tables published on the DOH Public Web site or in the hard copy version.

All facilities should be reminded that 95% of their 1997 SPARCS data is due by DOH regulation within 60 days of month of discharge. Keep up the good work. I would also like to remind those facilities interested in sending data to SPARCS electronically to contact SPARCS to learn about our enhanced capabilities for receiving data via a dial-up connection.

1998 Data Collection Issues

The following data elements will no longer be required for SPARCS inpatient data collection: Prehospital Care Report Number, DRG Billed, Do Not Resuscitate Indicator, and Total Acute Certified Days. Data submitted after January 1, 1998, for any year will not be subject to edits pertaining to the above mentioned data elements.

For outpatient submissions starting January 1, 1998, the Statement-Covers-Thru Date will be required for all data reported to SPARCS.

As part of a consensus agreement between DOH policy staff and the New York Health Information Management Association personnel, the following ICD-9-CM diagnosis codes will not be subject to SPARCS age-specific edits effective November 20, 1997:

331.81, 411.89, 433.01, 433.11, 433.21, 433.31, 433.81, 433.91 440.9 , 454.9 , 577.2 , 766.1 , 767.6

These age-specific exceptions are listed in Appendix R of the SPARCS Documentation, which will be updated on the SPARCS public WEB site within the next few weeks. When these codes are reported with an age outside the allowable range on the Medicare code editor, a warning message will be printed on the SPARCS edit report, rather than the error message that is currently displayed.

Data Content Issues

Recent hospital mergers have posed additional questions regarding data submissions to SPARCS. Facilities are questioning how to report patients that are transferred among facilities with common ownership. Could the entire stay be submitted by the discharge facility or must each facility report a portion of the stay? If facilities submit the entire patient stay thru the discharge facility we would no longer be able to easily identify what services were provided at each physical location. The ability to isolate the place where care is given is an important tool for the users of SPARCS data.

As for Reimbursement concerns, they stress the need for separate data reported by each of the facilities involved when they are paying separate rates for the two merged facilities. However, Reimbursement is less concerned with separate data when they are reimbursing one rate for both locations. Reimbursement has formed a work group to look at the issues surrounding merged entities and this issue will be on their agenda.

Currently, Department regulations state that services must be reported under the physical location where they are provided. Therefore, even though the two facilities may share a common provider number, data must be reported to SPARCS for each physical location by the PFI (Permanent Facility Identifier).

SPARCS would like to hear your thoughts and concerns regarding this issue. Please contact us. Thank you.

Internet News

Have you had a chance to browse our SPARCS Web Site? Our e-mail address: www.health.state.ny.us/statistics/sparcs/

We encourage you to get connected to the Internet so you can receive the most current SPARCS information and software in the most efficient manner.

AUDIT REPORTS: the latest submission counts are now posted, reflecting data received through the end of October.

SPARCS - SOFTWARE/DOCUMENTATION DOWNLOADS: Updates to the SPARCS Input Data Dictionary and the HCNAPPS software, version 4.14, for the announced 1998 changes are now being finalized and will be available through our WEB site in early December. For those that do not yet have Internet access, hard copy of the SPARCS documentation will be available upon request in early January.

We are most anxious to get your feedback and suggestions for future enhancements. If you do not have access to the Internet yet, copies of all the items posted are still available by contacting SPARCS. We do encourage everyone to get connected and get current.

The entire SPARCS staff wishes everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.