Information Bulletin, October 1997


Data Submissions
Internet News
Department Initiative
National Alert

Data Submissions

Data submissions for 1997 are routinely being processed. The Department of Health regulations require SPARCS data to be submitted to the Department within 60 days of month of discharge. Hospitals not able to comply with this requirement receive reminder letters that detail the specific months where problems exist. Our 1996 inpatient submission totals are at 98% of what would be expected. Facilities still having shortfalls for 1996 have been contacted to determine the nature of the problem and when corrective action is anticipated. We thank all facilities for their continued cooperation.

As announced in our July Bulletin, we will be publishing the 1996 SPARCS Annual Report this fall. Hospitals with verified reporting shortfalls at the publishing date will be listed in this year's Annual Report to provide a more complete picture of the inpatient stays in New York State.

Internet News

If you have not recently browsed the SPARCS web site, you should do so to see our exciting new additions: Select "Information for Providers" from the menu at www.health.state.ny.us. In addition to finding Information Bulletins from the past two years, you will find the latest submission counts for your facility (under Audit Reports) and documentation containing the most current SPARCS edits.

The new download feature enables you to obtain software and documentation right from our web page. For example, you can go to Software/Documentation Downloads and get the latest release of HCNAPPS and EPS software, or the most current SPARCS and UDS documentation, with just a click of the mouse.

If you do not have access to the Internet yet, copies of these items are still available by contacting SPARCS. We do, however, encourage you to get your web connection as soon as possible. It will provide you with SPARCS software and information in the most efficient way, which will facilitate more accurate and timely data submissions.

Department Initiative

We are happy to announce a collaborative effort with the Congenital Malformation and Alzheimer's Disease systems that will provide an optional submission vehicle for Department requirements for these registries. Effective early next year, UDS data submitted to SPARCS with the necessary additional registry data elements will be rerouted to the appropriate registry staff for processing. This will be in lieu of current registry submission requirements. Programming in both registry systems is currently in progress to implement this initiative. Any facility wishing to be a beta test site for submission of either congenital malformation or Alzheimer's data in conjunction with their SPARCS submission should contact the SPARCS staff.

National Alert

On August 21, 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Contained in this law are provisions for administrative simplification of critical health transactions, including the claim, remittance, enrollment, and eligibility records. This fall, recommended national standards will be published for comment in the Federal Register. The expected implementation date for these standards is February 2000. This will affect all health information systems, including SPARCS. The data elements we collect will need to be consistent with and supported by the national standards mandated as part of the HIPAA legislation.

SPARCS has started to implement the changes necessary to migrate our current system to the anticipated national standards. Effective for discharges in 1998, inpatient submissions will no longer require reporting of the Prehospital Care Report Number, and outpatient submissions will be required to report the Discharge Date in the Statement-Covers-Thru Date field. Both of these changes are being made to minimize the collection of data in fields defined for New York State use only.