Information Bulletin, February 2002


2000 Annual Report
Miscellaneous SPARCS Issues
HIPAA Delay
Emergency Department Data Collection

2000 Annual Report

We are pleased to announce that the 2000 SPARCS Annual Report has been published and will soon be mailed to all hospital administrators. The narrative and 19 statistical tables are now available on our public Web site in accessible HTML format. The report can be downloaded from our Web site under Annual Report Downloads in Corel WordPerfect 8 format. Once again we thank facilities for their cooperation in submitting timely and accurate data to SPARCS. As in the past the narrative contains lists of facilities with Reporting Problems. A second list of Submission Notes is also published to notify users of the data of changes in submission circumstances that have resulted in reduced data submissions. The purpose of both of these lists is to ensure that the data is interpreted accurately by data users.

Miscellaneous SPARCS Issues

Effective immediately requestors of Hospitals Own Data (HOD) may now receive their data on CD's. The HOD Request form on our public Web site has been modified to include this new option. We encourage all HOD users currently receiving their data on diskette to take advantage of this new option.

The SPARCS system continues to maintain a close professional relationship with the New York Health Information Management Association (NYHIMA). NYHIMA provides valuable guidance to SPARCS with diagnosis and procedure coding issues. The SPARCS policy for adding age edit exceptions is to have the NYHIMA coding committee make recommendations based on acceptable coding practices. The complete list of exceptions is documented in Appendix N of the SPARCS Documentation. Below are the most recent changes to that exception list, which take effect immediately.

722.52       Degeneration of lumbar or lumbosacral intervertebral disc

724.02      Spinal Stenosis of lumbar region

Note:For the above two codes the edit was changed from adult (valid for age greater than 14) to allowing for patients less than 15 years of age. When this happens, however, a warning message will be generated on the SPARCS edit report. This means the record passes SPARCS edits, but the exception condition is noted with a warning flag.

HIPAA Delay

In late December, President Bush signed legislation that delays the implementation of the HIPAA Transactions and Codes final rule. Under this new legislation the implementation date for the Transactions and Codes final rule is now October 16, 2003, rather than the same date in 2002. This legislation does not alter the SPARCS commitment to support a HIPAA compatible format. SPARCS understands the importance to stay classed with industry standards. Recently, a letter was sent to all New York State hospitals surveying when these facilities anticipate sending required SPARCS data in a HIPAA compatible format. Like everybody else, SPARCS needs to use our available resources efficiently. The purpose of the survey is to confirm when SPARCS support for HIPAA compatible formats will be necessary. Facilities may e-mail, fax, or phone their submission intentions to the SPARCS Administrative Unit. As always, we appreciate your cooperation in helping us maintain the SPARCS system in conformance with industry standards.

Emergency Department Data Collection

As mandated by the Emergency Department legislation signed into law last fall by Governor Pataki, the Department is developing draft technical specifications and regulations necessary to implement this system. The implementation time frame specified in the legislation dictates that the system must be operational in the fall of 2003. A Department work group has been developing the technical specifications as well as the supporting regulations. Within the next month, the Department will seek further industry input on the proposed implementation specifics of this data collection requirement. The Greater New York Hospital Association and the Healthcare Association of New York State have both agreed to sponsor meetings to provide industry representatives the opportunity to comment on the draft Department system design proposals. Notice of these meetings will be distributed by both hospital associations and by SPARCS for those already on the Universal Data Set for Institutional Providers (UDS/IP) task force mailing list. SPARCS will also maintain a separate distribution list for others that are interested in participating in the process to develop the mandated Emergency Department Data Collection System. Please contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit if you want to be included in this development process.