Information Bulletin, June 2003


Data Submission
Emergency Department Data Collection
State and National Issues
SPARCS Goodies
SPARCS News

Data Submission

According to Department of Health regulations, all SPARCS 2002 discharge data for each facility is due by the end of June. Approximately 95% of the expected 2002 data has already been submitted to SPARCS. Providers should be congratulated for their efforts to date. Facilities with potential reporting shortages are notified of their reporting status by a letter sent monthly. As the end-year due date for 2002 SPARCS data approaches, facilities still identified with potential shortages are being personally contacted. SPARCS encourages any facility with issues associated with their submission status to contact the SPARCS Administrative Staff.

Establishing secure electronic connections with all our providers is a cornerstone of our HIPAA implementation strategy. The HIPAA transaction standards are designed to transmit data electronically. The true administrative savings with HIPAA can only be realized if the health transactions are transmitted electronically.

The Health Provider Network (HPN) is the secured submission vehicle maintained and used by the Department, including SPARCS, for submission of electronic data. Currently, 60% of New York State providers use the HPN to submit required SPARCS data. If you are not already using the HPN to submit data to SPARCS, we encourage you to call your friendly SPARCS Administrative Unit person to get you connected sooner rather than later.

Emergency Department Data Collection

The implementation date for mandated collection of emergency department visits in New York State article 28 hospitals is September 4, 2003. Thanks to the many hospitals and their vendors that have been testing with us this spring, effective prior to the end of June the production system to edit and store emergency department data will be activated. We understand that until September 4, 2003 that any "live" submission of emergency department data is voluntary. Our decision to implement the production system prior to September 4, 2003 is in direct response to those facilities that have completed their testing and want to minimize any additional work to separate required ambulatory surgery visit information from the emergency department data between now and September 4, 2003. We thank all the hospitals that have expended the effort and resources to test the emergency department data collection system well before the mandated deadline and prior to the HIPAA transactions and codes deadline of October 16, 2003.

State and National Issues

As you are aware the HIPAA privacy legislation took effect on April 14, 2003. Because SPARCS is not a "covered entity" as defined by the HIPAA legislation and the disclosure exclusions granted to public health authorities, providers required to submit data to SPARCS may do so unconstrained by the HIPAA legislation. The controlling legislation for submitting data to SPARCS is state statutes. It is, however, the opinion of our counsel that hospitals and clinics, who are "covered entities" under HIPAA must be able to account for records sent to SPARCS if a complaint is registered. It is for this scenario that the SPARCS system can be of assistance to the health care industry in New York State. The SPARCS system has the ability to provide each submitting organization a detailed log of what has been sent to SPARCS. Currently, that ability is on an adhoc basis, but that function could be automated if there is an industry demand. Anyone interested in SPARCS developing an automated log to comply with your HIPAA logging requirements should contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit.

The next State Uniform Billing Committee (SUBC) meeting is scheduled for June 18th at Greater New York Hospital Association offices in New York City from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. UB coding issues, HIPAA transactions and codes transition issues, and a presentation by the Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project will be discussed. The Consumer-Purchaser Disclosure Project is interested in developing indicators that could be used to determine reimbursement for health care services based on the quality of care provided, rather than just the price of care. This presentation prompted significant discussion at the most recent National Uniform Billing Committee meeting. It is clear that more discussion is necessary as ideas about how to improve the quality of health care in the United States are proposed. Anyone interested in more details about this meeting should contact the SPARCS Administrative Staff.

SPARCS Goodies

We would like to remind SPARCS data submitters and users about some of the Other Related Web Sites options available on the SPARCS public web site. In particular there is a link to the New York State Department of Education Professional Licenses web site, which allows online verification of physicians state license numbers. There is also a link to the New York State Insurance Department Regulated Insurers Directory, which allows online verification of payer identification numbers, including National Association of Insurance Commissioner (NAIC) identifiers, that would be reported to SPARCS.

http://www.health.state.ny.us/statistics/sparcs/operations/relsites.htm.

The Alzheimer Disease Registry system has decided to use SPARCS data as their primary input data source. In so doing, they have decided to eliminate the need for additional data requirements that had been documented in Appendix T of the SPARCS Input Data Dictionary. That appendix is no longer necessary and has been eliminated from the SPARCS documentation on our public web site and in hard copy.

SPARCS News

As of July 30, 2003, Bob Davis will be retiring from state service and from his responsibilities as the Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS) coordinator. The key word in the SPARCS acronym is Cooperative. Bob would like to publicly thank the Department for their support and confidence given to him as SPARCS Coordinator. He would also like to take this opportunity to publicly thank the health care industry for the cooperative spirit that has enabled the SPARCS system to grow and adapt to the many changes in the health care delivery system during his tenure, which have included migrating to the UB-92 and now HIPAA compatibility. We are confident that spirit will live on as Bob seeks out new challenges outside the New York State Department of Health.