Information Bulletin, February 2003


2001 Annual Report
Emergency Department Data Collection
SPARCS5 DOS Application
SPARCS Edit Issues
SPARCS Data Tidbit

2001 Annual Report

We are pleased to announce that the 2001 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 data users interpret the data accurately.

Emergency Department Data Collection

As mandated by the Emergency Department legislation signed into law on September 2001 by Governor Pataki, the Department's system development is on schedule for implementing this system within the two years specified in the legislation. We anticipate our system to be ready for testing by the end of February. Any hospital interested in testing their emergency department submissions should contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit at your earliest convenience. We understand the State mandated deadline for implementing the emergency department data collection system is very close to the HIPAA transactions and codes extension deadline of October 16, 2003. With that in mind, the SPARCS system is planning to complete its development work on this system this spring. This will enable hospitals to begin testing and submitting the state mandated emergency department data later this spring, thereby avoiding conflict with their HIPAA implementation later this fall.

SPARCS5 DOS Application

Download the SPARCS5 DOS application version 5.11 from this URL www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/download.htm.

This version of the application supports the 2003 changes to the ambulatory surgery data collection system. There will be another version of the software available later this year to also support the emergency department data collection requirements. Contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit with any questions about the SPARCS5 application.

SPARCS Edit Issues

Hospitals are to be reminded that all 2003 ambulatory surgery discharges will be subject to our new outpatient edits, which are documented on the SPARCS public web page. Hospitals having difficulty submitting prior years ambulatory surgery data should contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit to discuss the nature of their specific problem as well as possible alternative solutions.

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 R of the SPARCS Documentation. Below are the most recent changes to that exception list, which take effect immediately.

Additions to Age Exception list

340

Below is a list of codes that are currently invalid as principal diagnoses, but will now be allowed as principal diagnoses.

Principal Diagnoses Codes

V5410 through V5417 & V5419
V5420 through V5427 & V5429
V5481 & V5489
V5842 & V5843
V5871 through V5878
SPARCS Data Tidbit

New York Sate institutional providers must be congratulated for the quality of data they have been submitting to SPARCS over the past few years. Accurately reported data helps data users investigate a variety of issues that impact the cost and quality of health care services provided at New York State facilities. For instance, there are significant variations by age group in readmission rates receiving ambulatory surgery services. Determining the factors affecting readmission rates can have a dramatic effect on improving the quality of health care while simultaneously reducing costs. Once again thank you to all those responsible for improving the quality of SPARCS data.