Information Bulletin, November 1998


Data Submissions
Year 2000 Issues
Site Visitations
UDS/IP Task Force
Miscellaneous Items

Data Submissions

On behalf of the Department of Health, the SPARCS staff would like to thank providers, vendors, and data users for another year of successful collaboration. As the holiday season approaches we would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy 1999. The 1997 SPARCS Annual Report Series will be generated within the calendar year that is required by our regulations. A list of facilities that have reporting shortages will be published as part of the annual report.

It is important that the many users of the data be presented with a complete and accurate picture of New York State inpatient and ambulatory surgery discharges for a given year. We are very proud of the continued improvement in the quality of the SPARCS data being reported, and appreciate the hard work necessary to achieve a timely, accurate, and complete data base.

As part of our annual self-evaluation process we have identified uncorrected record errors as the largest single source of data inaccuracies on the SPARCS data base. To assist data submitters, the number of unresolved errors for each facility will be published on our Web site. We expect this new feature to be available in the Spring of 1999. Any facility needing more detail to correct these unresolved errors can currently request a History Report from SPARCS staff.

Year 2000 Issues

SPARCS can now accept the UDS year 2000 compliant Version 5 formatted submissions as production data. We appreciate the many facilities that have been taking advantage of our testing process. It should be noted that Version 5 submissions must now conform to all 1999 SPARCS requirements. Please contact SPARCS staff if you need a detailed list of these requirements. We assume the hospital programming necessary to satisfy these new 1999 SPARCS requirements will be made to the Version 5 format, rather than the soon-to-be obsolete Version 4.1 format. If this assumption is invalid, please contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit.

We are currently developing a Web-based alternative to the non-Y2K compliant PCMAIL. In addition, our DOS-based data entry/correction software, HCNAPPS, is being enhanced to be Y2K compliant. We expect both software products will be available and operational early in 1999. These two enhancements will simplify the electronic submission of data to SPARCS.

Site Visitations

As part of an initiative started three years ago, SPARCS staff have visited many facilities around the state in an attempt to better understand hospital and clinic practices necessary to submit data to SPARCS. We have learned much from these visits. Based upon feedback the facilities have also benefited. These visits are based on the premise that with knowledge comes understanding, with understanding comes cooperation. We thank facilities that have in the past been gracious hosts and look forward to our future trips around the state. Any facility that would like to arrange a visit in the future should contact SPARCS staff: otherwise, don't be surprised if a SPARCS staff person calls you requesting a visit.

UDS/IP Task Force

The Universal Data Set for Institutional Providers (UDS/IP) Task Force continues to serve as a vehicle for change in New York State. It was created to facilitate migration to the national UB-92 billing standard. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 will mandate national standards for health care transactions. The UDS/IP Task Force is now working toward a smooth migration to HIPAA standards for New York State providers and payers. The task force meets in September and April of each year. Anyone interested in participating in this process should contact SPARCS staff.

Roberta Warner, a founding member of the UDS/IP Task Force, is retiring from HANYS after 25 years of service. Her knowledge and contributions to the standards movement in New York State will be missed. We wish Roberta the best of luck in her retirement.

Miscellaneous Items

We encourage everyone to visit our Web site. We are always open to suggestions about ways we can better provide necessary services and information. Please e-mail us your suggestions. This year for instance, we received a comment that our edit reports would be clearer if the common inpatient and outpatient error messages were numbered the same. We agreed and the change has been made.