Information Bulletin, February 1997


1996 Status
Annual Reports
Data Quality
1997 Changes
Reporting Problems

1996 Status

With this month's update, approximately 2 million inpatient discharges have been submitted. This is about 80 percent of the expected total, which puts us right on schedule for regulatory compliance regarding the collection of 1996 data by June 30. Hospitals are to be congratulated for their ongoing efforts to submit accurate and timely data to SPARCS.

Annual Reports

The 1994 and 1995 SPARCS Annual Reports will be mailed to each hospital's executive offices within the next few weeks. For the first time the SPARCS Annual Reports will display data based on information from our single data source, the Universal Data Set (UDS). Please note that the number of tables have been condensed from previous years to present the most meaningful information as determined by past data requestors. In addition, charge information has been added to several tables. These tables are are accessible in our Public Web site in the Annual Reports.

Now that the UDS system has stabilized, future annual reports will be published and distributed each November. Tables for the preceding year will be generated following the October update, which means that only those data submitted prior to September 30 will be included in the publication. This makes it even more important that hospitals comply with our submission deadlines each year.

Data Quality

As part of an ongoing commitment to collect accurate information, most hospitals recently received a letter detailing reporting problems with the Payer Identification number for commercial payers. Through a collaborative effort with the Department of Insurance (DOI), conflicting state lists have been condensed into one accepted coding scheme. A commonly miscoded number is for the generic '98999' code. This code should no longer be necessary, since all commercial insurance companies doing business in New York State should be certified by DOI or the Department of Health Bureau of Managed Care. A specific number is assigned either by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners or by the State.

As we move to a more competitive environment, accurate commercial payer identification is essential as a management tool for facilities and the Department. With continued cooperation from providers, we hope to voluntarily improve the quality of hospital data over the next year prior to a hard edit being applied which verifies valid numbers being applied.

1997 Changes

With 1997 data submissions now in progress, we want to remind data submitters that edits detailed below that were applied only to 1996 claims will now be applied to all claims.

Expected Reimbursement code 14 (corrections) will no longer be accepted. The specific codes for local, state, and federal correctional facilities must now be used on all appropriate claims.

The Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) indicator is now required for all inpatient claims.

Please refer to our December 1996 Information Bulletin

Reporting Problems

An old problem has recently resurfaced owing to the increased number of hospital mergers. SPARCS requires data be submitted for each permanent facility as determined by the Department's Health Facility Master File, regardless of ownership. For each Permanent Facility Identifier (PFI), the SPARCS system will automatically generate delinquent letters for facilities with no reported data. If this situation applies to you, please contact SPARCS to work out an acceptable plan of action to correct the problem.

The PFI is important for identifying medical diagnoses, procedures, costs and services provided at each licensed Article 28 facility in the state. When reported correctly, the data supports more meaningful market share analysis as well as research designed to identify environmental causes for public health problems. As always, your cooperation is appreciated in helping make the SPARCS data base "be all it can be".