Dear Administrator Letter: Department Launches Health Facilities Information System

Dear Health Facility Administrator;

ALBANY, NY (January 5, 2009) - The Department is pleased to announce the inauguration of a new system for the management of information on facilities and services certified under the Public Health Law. The implementation of the Health Facilities Information System (HFIS) will enable the Department to maintain more accurate information on beds and services throughout the State and to issue and amend operating certificates (licenses) in a more timely manner. The Department activated the HFIS system on January 5, 2009.

The development of HFIS has provided an occasion to revise the traditional operating certificate into a more compact document that is more easily handled and displayed. New operating certificates for each facility have already been mailed to licensed providers. This certificate is valid immediately and should be displayed in place of the provider's previous certificate, which should be destroyed.

The development of HFIS has also involved the updating and revision of the terminology for beds and services subject to certification, as shown on the following list:

The terms for most beds and services remain unchanged, but some have been eliminated and others revised to describe more accurately a particular bed type or service category. If any of the revised terms apply to beds or services operated by a facility, the new term appears on the new operating certificate. The use of the new term requires no action on the part of the facility, nor does it indicate a need to alter in any way the manner in which the facility delivers the service in question. Further, the employment of the new term will not adversely affect payment or reimbursement for the service involved.

If the facility is providing a formerly certified service that no longer appears in the HFIS terminology, the facility may continue providing that service without interruption or alteration. The Department has merely determined that the service need no longer be subject to review and licensure and thus no longer needs specific authorization.

Department staff will be happy to assist providers in the transition to HFIS from the former Health Facilities Master File (HFMF), and have established an e-mail link ( to respond to questions. A toll-free telephone number will also be established in the very near future to further assist providers, which the Department will announce via HPN posting when available. Based on questions received by staff, the Department has also posted "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQs) to assist providers and will update this document as necessary: