Information Bulletin, May 2001


Version 6 Format Issues
Data Submission Issues
DRG Issues
SPARCS Contact Information Updates - Please

Version 6 Format Issues

It has been brought to our attention that there is a discrepancy between the Version 6 specifications published by SPARCS and by Medicare. The Physical Record Count field in Record Type 90 was changed from three to four characters by the Health Care Financing Administration. The SPARCS Version 6 Specifications did not reflect that change. It continues to be our intention to class the SPARCS system with industry standards. Effective immediately, the Version 6 format accepted by SPARCS will be consistent with the published Medicare specifications. Those changes are already posted on the SPARCS public web site in the SPARCS Documentation

To ease the burden for providers already sending us Version 6 submissions that are failing because of this formatting issue, SPARCS will reformat these submissions and resubmit the corrected files unless otherwise directed. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused our friends in the provider community. If you have individual issues, please contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit at sparcs@health.state.ny.us.

Data Submission Issues

According to Department of Health regulations, all SPARCS 2000 discharge data for each facility is due by the end of June. Approximately 93% of the expected 2000 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 2000 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 Unit at sparcs@health.state.ny.us.

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.

This year an increasing number of providers have begun and are continuing to submit data to SPARCS electronically via the Health Provider Network (HPN). We continue to receive positive feedback from those providers using this submission method. Providers appreciate the improved turnaround time, the reduced number of magnetic tape/cartridge related problems, and the on-line access to data submission reports. It is our goal to have all data submitted to SPARCS using the secure electronic HPN connection. 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.

DRG Issues

SPARCS stores six DRGs on the edited inpatient format file: the current calendar year's federal and NYS DRG, the prior year's federal and NYS DRG, and the next year's federal and NYS DRG. The next year's federal and NYS DRG were put on the 2000 inpatient file as of the update in early May. For further information about the DRGs stored on the SPARCS inpatient edited file, see Appendix N (www.health.state.ny.us/statistics/sparcs/sysdoc/appn.htm).

SPARCS Contact Information Updates - Please

It is important to SPARCS that communications with the provider community are timely and appropriate. This means that sometimes it is necessary to communicate the old fashion way using the United States Post Office to deliver hard copy documents. SPARCS currently maintains a file of hospital contacts for that purpose. We ask that our providers remember to inform us when staff changes occur in areas responsible for submitting SPARCS data. Thanks in advance.