Information Bulletin, June 1996


1995 Submissions
SPARCS Update Process
1997 SPARCS Requirements
New Proposed Edits

1995 Submissions

As the June 30, 1996 deadline for submission of 1995 discharges to SPARCS approaches, we are pleased to note that approximately 95% of expected inpatient and ambulatory surgery data has already been received and posted to the SPARCS master files. As always we appreciate the level of cooperation on the part of individual facilities and their vendors. Facilities with data reporting shortfalls have been contacted to determine the nature of any problems and to negotiate a realistic time frame for compliance. Again we congratulate facilities on another year well done submitting SPARCS data under the UDS system.

SPARCS Update Process

As the SPARCS system has evolved, we have encouraged and appreciated constructive feedback from providers and vendors. As a result, we are currently testing a new update process that will incorporate many suggestions we have received in the two years since implementation of the UDS system. Currently, "change" transactions submitted to SPARCS the SAME month as the original record are not applied to our master file; our new process will correct this situation, and make our current tape-based system appear to be more like a real-time transaction-based system. Implementation of this change will be in late summer or early fall. If your have any questions prior to implementation, please contact SPARCS staff.

1997 SPARCS Requirements

As approved by the Universal Data Set for Institutional Providers (UDS/IP) Task Force, all 1997 ambulatory surgery discharges will be required to report the Unique Personal Identifier, which is currently collected for inpatient discharges. Specifics of this requirement are detailed in the SPARCS documentation. Consistent with existing policy for new data collection, this data element may optionally be reported for ambulatory surgery visits prior to 1997 until the year 1998 at which time the reporting of the Unique Personal Identifier will be required for all ambulatory surgery submissions to SPARCS. It is now required on all inpatient submissions to SPARCS.

Again as approved by the UDS/IP Task Force in April, SPARCS will no longer be collecting the Placement of Bed Indicator, effective immediately. As part of an ongoing initiative, SPARCS staff is analyzing the use and reporting patterns of all data elements collected to evaluate the current data needs. Elements such as this one with no demonstrable need will no longer be collected.

New Proposed Edits

In cases where there is an identifiable need but the reporting patterns are suspect, SPARCS, in collaboration with data users and hospitals, will implement appropriate new edits. Described below are two proposals for improving the reporting of ICD-9-CM diagnosis and procedure codes:

  • Proposal One:
    The number of low birthweight babies reported on SPARCS appears to be consistently overstated based on comparative analysis of SPARCS records with the Vital Records files. As a proposed solution, a new multiple relationship edit has been suggested. Living newborn patient records reporting a birthweight less than 1500 grams with hospital stays of less than 10 days, and reported as discharged to their home would be rejected under this proposed new edit.

  • Proposal Two:
    Some hospitals have reported an unusually high number of patients over the age of 100. Further analysis has determined that in all such cases where the age was reported incorrectly, the associated ICD-9-CM diagnosis and procedure codes were not consistent with the age of the patient, causing the calculated DRG to be ungroupable. The suggested solution is to reject all records where the calculated DRG is not groupable using the current all patient grouper.

It is our intention to formally propose these edits, or variations, at the next UDS/IP Task Force meeting on September 10. As always we would appreciate comments on the appropriateness and the viability of these proposed changes. Given approval by the task force, the most likely effective date for these edit changes would be January 1, 1997. Edit changes of this nature would be applied to discharges for all years.