Information Bulletin, March 2003


Emergency Department Data Collection
SPARCS Edit Issues
SPARCS5 Application
Data Quality News

Emergency Department Data Collection

As mandated by the Emergency Department legislation signed into law in 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. OUR SYSTEM IS NOW READY TO BEGIN TESTING OF EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT SUBMISSIONS. Hospitals should contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit at your earliest convenience for the logistical support necessary for your testing. Because 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, we hope all hospitals that provide emergency services will begin testing their emergency department data collection as soon as possible. Through comprehensive testing and in collaboration with hospitals, we plan to begin our production process later this spring, which we hope will help alleviate potential conflicts with HIPAA implementation schedules.

In a related activity, the supporting Emergency Department Data Collection System regulations are currently being reviewed by the Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform (GORR). It should be noted that the data elements proposed in the regulatory package being reviewed are HIPAA compatible.

SPARCS Edit Issues

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

Additions to Age Exception list

441.01

As has been documented in many previous bulletins and in SPARCS documentation that has been posted on the SPARCS public web site since last summer, there are significant changes to all outpatient submissions. These changes were necessary to class all outpatient data submissions to SPARCS, which includes the current reporting of ambulatory surgery visits and the impending reporting of emergency department visits. The largest source of errors in the outpatient testing to date have been a result of our edits validating UB revenue codes and other data elements associated with those revenue codes, including the CPT4 / HCPC procedure codes and modifiers. For SPARCS we are still learning about the idiosyncrasies of the CPT4 and HCPC reference files used to validate the reported procedure codes. Any facility having problems with our edits and in particular the edits associated with the reporting of charge information on outpatient submissions should contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit. In cases where the SPARCS edits are in error, we need your input to help us take the appropriate corrective action. In cases where the SPARCS edits are valid, we want to assist you in resolving the error as expeditiously as possible.

SPARCS5 Application

As announced in the February 2003 SPARCS Bulletin, the SPARCS5 DOS application version 5.11 is now available to be downloaded from the public web site. This software supported the 2003 changes to the SPARCS system. There was a problem reported with the Value Code edits in Record Type 41 in the 5.11 version. That error has been corrected and a new 5.11 version can now be downloaded from the SPARCS public web site. It is important to note that a new version of the SPARCS5 software may be installed without impacting any current data accessed through the application.

The 5.12 version of the SPARCS5 application is currently under development. This version of the software will provide support for the emergency department data collection system. There will be an additional announcement when that software is available.

Data Quality News

In a continuing effort to assess and improve the quality of SPARCS data, staff monitors data submitted to SPARCS across several years. The latest analysis has revealed a lot of good data quality news and a small amount of bad data quality news. Since 1995 about 500,000 deaths have been reported to SPARCS both from inpatient stays and ambulatory surgery visits. For the vast majority of those cases, the SPARCS files are internally consistent as well as being collaborated by existing reports to the Vital Records Death system, which speaks volumes about the care and concern hospitals have shown reporting data to the Department. For that we thank all dedicated hospital staff for their efforts. From these approximately half a million cases, SPARCS has identified about 600 cases where a person receives medical services after the date of death. Though statistically this is a very small margin of error, SPARCS staff is contacting those facilities where this anomaly has occurred. It is our intent to further improve the quality of the data and prevent any potential systemic problems from causing future bad data quality news.