Information Bulletin, October 2000


Data Submissions
HIPAA News
SPARCS Changes
Web Site News

Data Submissions

Once again hospitals and vendors should be congratulated for another successful year of data submissions. For data received through the month of September approximately 98% of projected 1999 SPARCS data has been posted to the SPARCS master files. Facilities identified with possible data shortfalls are being contacted by SPARCS staff. We anticipate publishing the 1999 Annual Report (ARS) with data submitted through the month of October. The ARS publication will note those facilities with a shortfall along with an explanation, which will also be posted on the SPARCS public Web site.

There are facilities that currently have data shortfalls because their original or corrected data has not been submitted to SPARCS. Should you have any questions concerning the status of your 1999 data, please do not hesitate to contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit. Just as a reminder, the status of your inpatient and outpatient master file submissions is available on our Audit and Submission History Reports page on our public Web site.

HIPAA News

As many of you already realize the final HIPAA transactions and code rules were published in the Federal Register this August, which means the implementation date is October 2002. The final rules for security, privacy, employer identification number, and national provider identification number are expected to be published before the end of the year. Official HIPAA information is available on the administrative simplification web site http://aspe.hhs.gov/admnsimp/.

It is important to note that SPARCS is very committed to the system changes necessary for HIPAA compliance. SPARCS will follow the same two-year time line as required of payers and providers. During the next year necessary documentation and testing schedules will be published on the SPARCS Web site.

The purpose of recent changes to the SPARCS data requirements has been to class them with the HIPAA transaction standards. That effort will continue until the HIPAA mandates are implemented in 2002. A second preparatory step, implemented this year, is the Internet Upload process, which provides a secure communication link to transmit data electronically. We thank those facilities that are currently taking advantage of this process and encourage those who are not to contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit at sparcs.submissions@health.ny.gov.

The next meeting of the Universal Data Set for Institutional Providers (UDS/IP) Task Force will be Tuesday, October 31, 2000 at the new HANYS offices in Rensselaer. The main agenda items will be associated with HIPAA implementation in New York State. Please contact the SPARCS Administrative Unit at sparcs.submissions@health.ny.gov for more details on the upcoming meeting.

SPARCS Changes

Changes to the ICD-9-CM reference file took effect October 1, 2000. Any new diagnosis or procedure codes must be reported for all discharges after that date.

The SPARCS5 PC application has been modified and the new 5.07 version is available on our Software/Documentation Download Web page. Included in the changes in the 5.07 release are updates to the facility list, further clarification on potentially confusing warning messages, and modification of the Inpatient Accommodations screen. The latter change was in response to user questions associated with the transition to UB-92 accommodation codes from the old SPARCS accommodation codes. Specifics of the changes in the 5.07 version of SPARCS5 are available in the Release Notes which will be downloaded along with the software.

Web Site News

We appreciate the very positive response we continue to receive about the content and design of the SPARCS Public Web site. In an effort to better serve our growing audience, we have begun a staged implementation to make all pages accessible to people with disabilities in accordance with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The Audit and Submission History Reports have already been converted. As always we encourage comments as we strive to meet the needs of all current and potential users of the SPARCS system.