Information Bulletin, August 2001

Data Submissions
SPARCS Documentation
SPARCS5 Application

Data Submissions

As a result of the excellent response from facilities working hard to comply with SPARCS data submission requirements again this year, SPARCS has received approximately 98% of the projected 2000 data submissions. This is great news for users of SPARCS data and a tribute to all those facilities that have been diligent in their efforts to submit discharge data to SPARCS in compliance with the June 30, 2001 due date.

SPARCS staff is currently contacting those few facilities still experiencing problems with their 2000 SPARCS submissions to determine the nature of the problem and when they will be in compliance with their data submissions. It should be noted that SPARCS will continue to accept 2000 discharge data from facilities even though the due date has past. The problem confronting these facilities is that any analysis of their data will appear skewed in one direction or the other because their data is incomplete.

The target date for publication of the 2000 SPARCS Annual Report is November. We will continue the practice of publishing a list of explained and unexplained data shortfalls with the statistical tables.

You can visit the SPARCS public web site and look at the Audit and Submission History Reports to check the status of a facility's 2000 data submissions.


Providers, which are clearly covered entities under the provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), have asked about the impact of the privacy final rule on SPARCS data collection. Department of Health counsel has expressed the opinion that SPARCS would be considered a Public Health Authority as defined in the HIPAA final rules published to date. Under this exception in the HIPAA privacy final rule providers will be able to continue to disseminate protected health information (PHI) to SPARCS. That means HIPAA does not change the current relationship between SPARCS and the provider community. It is important to note that access to SPARCS data continues to be tightly controlled by state statute and regulations.

SPARCS Documentation

The following two Patient Status codes have been approved by the National Uniform Billing Committee (NUBC) effective October 1, 2001. SPARCS will also accept these two new codes as of the effective date.

62     Discharge/transfer for Rehabilitation Services

63     Discharge/transfer for Long Term Care Services340

Though not required to use HIPAA mandated transaction standards for data collection, SPARCS will voluntarily accept the 837 claim/encounter format effective October 16, 2002. Testing will begin in the spring of 2002. SPARCS will also accept the current Version 5 and 6 formatted submission files after October 16, 2002.

Data specifications for the SPARCS requirements in the 837 format are now available on the SPARCS web site under SPARCS Documentation. As always, hard copy of SPARCS Documentation including these enhancements is available upon request to the SPARCS Administrative Unit at

These data specifications are included in three (3) parts:

  1. The data element descriptions in the SPARCS documentation have been updated to include a mapping of the SPARCS requirement to the 837 format.

  2. Two appendices have been added to summarize the SPARCS inpatient and outpatient requirements ordered by the required 837 segments.

  3. In late August, two addendum documents will be available to provide the necessary detail using the 837 format to submit inpatient and outpatient data streams to SPARCS.
SPARCS5 Application

In late August, two addendum documents will be available to provide the necessary detail using the 837 format to submit inpatient and outpatient data streams to SPARCS.

  • The edit has been removed on the Unscheduled/Scheduled Admission field, since this field is no longer required by SPARCS.

  • The edit for Occurrence Span Code From and Through Dates has been modified to allow Span Code Dates to be outside the Admission and Discharge Dates except when Span Codes 74, 75, 81, & 82 are reported.

  • Ancillary codes 609-Other Oxygen, 951-Athletic Training, and 952-Kinesiotherapy have been added as choices in the application.

  • The SPARCS facility database has been updated to include additional facilities and facility name changes.