Information Bulletin, July 1998


Data Submissions
National Standards
Year 2000 Issues
Internet News
1999 Changes
CMR Registry System

Data Submissions

As a result of the excellent response from facilities complying with SPARCS data submission requirements, SPARCS has received approximately 97% of the projected 1997 inpatient data submissions. This is great news for users of SPARCS data and excellent news for the facilities that have been attempting to submit 100% of their data to SPARCS in compliance with the June 30, 1998 due date.

SPARCS staff are currently contacting those facilities experiencing problems with their 1997 SPARCS submissions to determine the nature of the problem and when they will be in compliance with their data submissions. The problem confronting these facilities is that any analysis of their data is going to appear skewed in one direction or the other because the data is incomplete.

The target date for publishing the Annual Report tables is November 1998. We will continue the practice instituted last year of separately listing those facilities with data shortfalls along with an explanation, if available, for the shortfall.

You can visit the Department of Health's Web site and look at the SPARCS audit reports to check the status of your facility's 1997 inpatient data submissions.

National Standards

The enactment of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has been the impetus for national dialog on administrative simplification in the health care industry. In keeping with requirements of the new legislation, the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) published for comment by July 6, 1998, proposed rules for establishing a national provider identification number and for mandated electronic health transactions.

The SPARCS system remains committed to the concept of administrative simplification using data standards. Many of the recent changes to SPARCS have been implemented to bring the system into conformance with the national standards being mandated by HIPAA. In its comments on the proposed rules to DHHS, the Department of Health stated that public health data needs should be incorporated into these standards for providers to fully realize the cost savings benefits of Administrative Simplification. This position is the basis for decisions that will guide the SPARCS system as we speed into the next millennium.

Year 2000 Issues

It is coming, we will be ready, will you? The Version 5 UDS specifications are the HCFA based millennium ready format. If the appropriate data processing or vendor contact has not already seen this format, it is available on our Web site or in hard copy upon request from SPARCS administrative staff. SPARCS will continue to accept Version 4 non-millennium compliant submissions until December 31, 1999. It should be noted, however, that institutional claims to Medicare must be millennium compliant by January 1, 1999.

We are also in the process of modifying our PC entry and correction software (HCNAPPS) to be millennium compliant. The correction software will be available by January 1999.

Stay tuned, stay on track, so we can celebrate the new millennium together.

Internet News

Visit our SPARCS Web site at http://www.health.state.ny.us/statistics/sparcs/.

The Version 5 UDS specifications have been posted to our SPARCS Web site, as have appropriate changes to Version 4. Downloads of these materials are also available on the page entitled 'Software/Documentation Downloads'.

SPARCS programming staff continue to work on the ability to submit data through Web. Files of data can be using an Internet mailing system rather than PCMAIL. If your facility would like to be a beta tester, please contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit.

Also posted on our Web site this month are updated audit counts for 1994 - 1998. We encourage use of our site to obtain the most current information about SPARCS, and we also welcome suggestions for future enhancements.

1999 Changes

A summary of the 1999 changes to the SPARCS system has been mailed to facility and vendor contacts. If the appropriate person did not receive this mailing, please contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit to get our contact address files updated.

CMR Registry System

Congratulations to those facilities that are starting to submit Congenital Malformation registry (CMR) data using the UDS format. If difficulties are encountered, please report them to the SPARCS Administrative Unit so future development of the SPARCS system can further facilitate submission of required data to the Department in more uniform ways.