Information Bulletin, December 2011

Contact us at:

Phone: (518) 473- 8144

Outpatient Data Type Report
2011 Reportable Ambulatory Surgery Redefined Using Revenue Codes
New FTP Process on HCS
Code Updates
Did you miss your CUE?
Updated Data Specifications
Season's Greeting

Outpatient Data Type Report

Do you know how many outpatient services visits there are in NYS Hospital Outpatient Departments? With the collection of the new expanded outpatient services data (OP) that started in August 2011 from Phase I facilities (Hospital Outpatient Departments), you can now see the number of visits on a new SPARCS report called the "Outpatient Data Type Report". The direct link is: This new submission report will be updated each Tuesday with the weekly production reports starting with 2011 visit data. The report will display visit counts for: Ambulatory Surgery (AS) (see below), Emergency Department Only (ED) and Outpatient Services (OP). Facilities should use this report to monitor their outpatient data file submissions. All Phase I facilities are required to submit all outpatient services data. Your January thru September 2011 data should have been submitted by November 30, 2011. Your October thru December 2011 data must be submitted by February 29, 2012.

2011 Reportable Ambulatory Surgery Redefined Using Revenue Codes

With the collection of the new expanded outpatient services data in 2011, came the necessity to re-classify reportable Ambulatory Surgery Data for purposes of our SPARCS data edits upon submission. The following revenue codes are used to classify Ambulatory Surgery for reporting data to SPARCS:

AS Revenue
0360 General Services, Operating Room Services
0362 Organ Transplant - Other than Kidney, Operating Room Services
0369 Other Operating Room Services, Operating Room Services
0481 Cardiac Cat Lab, Cardiology
0490 General Classification, Ambulatory Surgery
0499 Other Ambulatory Surgical Care, Ambulatory Surgery
0750 General Classification, Gastro-Intestinal Services
0790 General Classification, Lithotripsy

This classification was necessary in order to continue to collect selected data elements that are required for Ambulatory Surgery (i.e., Procedure Time, Method of Anesthesia, and Attending Physician License Number). The new "Outpatient Data Type" submission report utilizes the revenue codes to classify the outpatient data into three data types; AS, ED, OP.

AS uses the above eight revenue codes, ED will continue to use the revenue code series "045x", and OP data will default to all remaining outpatient records submitted on the outpatient file. That is, the OP records will not have any of the above revenue codes or contain a procedure time greater than zero. For records that contain an AS revenue code and an ED revenue code (045x), they will be classified as "Amb-Surg from ED" and for purposes of classification, are placed in the Ambulatory Surgery (AS) column on the Outpatient Data Type Report.

Updated File Transfer Process Utility on HCS

What is the File Transfer Process, or "FTP" utility used for? The FTP utility was created to securely and easily transfer files, up to 100 megabytes in size, from one Health Commerce System (HCS) user to another. Yes, that is right, from one user to another. You can use it to FTP to another person who has an HCS account; not just a NYS DOH SPARCS person! It is secure, because the file is not emailed, i.e., the file resides on the HCS until it is downloaded.

Here is some important information about the improvements to this utility:

  • You can transfer three files to one person at a time (previously you could only FTP one file at a time).
  • Files remain on the HCS for 14 days.
  • Total file size is limited to 100 megabytes.
  • You may send no more than 2500 megabytes total per week, e.g., 25 files of 100 megabytes each.
  • Virus Scan software on the HCS will NOT be able to open an encrypted file to check for viruses, therefore,
    • If you are sending an encrypted file, please MAKE SURE that the file was scanned for viruses or malignant codes before uploading.
    • If you are receiving an encrypted file, MAKE SURE all files are from a TRUSTED SOURCE and exercise extreme caution before opening.
  • Non-encrypted files are checked for viruses during the upload process. If a virus is found, the upload process is aborted and the sender gets a message warning them of the virus.

For a complete overview as well as instructions and information on how to upload and download files from the HCS using the secure file transfer utility, please go to Applications on the Top Main Menu on the HCS and select the Secure File Transfer Utility listed in alphabetical order.

Code Updates

There have been several updates to the SPARCS system to allow changes to be accepted by our system.

New Principal Diagnosis codes in the SPARCS system:
The following group of "V-codes" are now allowed as Principal Diagnosis codes in the SPARCS system. Most of these codes have been in existence for quite some time, but due to the "Medicare Code Edits" used by the SPARCS system, they were not allowed as Principal Diagnosis codes.

Code Description Start Date
V20.1 Other healthy infant or child receiving care 10/1/1979
V46.12 Encounter for respirator dependence during power failure 10/1/2003
V60.0 Lack of housing 10/1/1979
V60.1 Inadequate housing 10/1/1979
V60.2 Inadequate material resources 10/1/1979
V60.89 Other specified housing or economic circumstances
(Hurricane Irene Victims displaced from RHCFs, placed in hospitals)
V62.89 Other psychological or physical stress NEC 10/1/1979
V63.2 Person awaiting admissions to adequate facility elsewhere 10/1/1979
V63.8 Other spec. reasons for unavailability of medical facilities 10/1/1979
V76.51 Special Screening for malignant neoplasm of colon 10/1/2000

Removal of CPT codes:
The following CPT codes were removed:

CPT code 90663 had a start date of 1/1/2008 and the end date is 1/1/2011
CPT code 90470 had a start date of 9/28/2009 and the end date is 1/1/2011

Did you miss your CUE?

The Clarifications Updates and Enhancements (CUE) is the list maintained by SPARCS to inform submitters of any changes to the reporting requirements. The CUE list is updated frequently to correspond with changes made in the "SPARCS Data Specifications" document used for reporting data to SPARCS, in addition to any changes in the edit program. The CUE list can be found on the SPARCS home page (, or on the Input Data Specifications webpage, or as an attachment (inside) to the PDF document, "X12-837 Input Data Specifications ". Make sure you check the CUE list and inform your programmers or vendors of any changes.

Updated Data Specifications

Where do I find what is required for SPARCS reporting? The answer is simple: the facility requirements for submission are contained in the "X12-837 Input Data Specifications" document located on the Department of Health's SPARCS web pages at:

This document was recently re-paginated to make it easier to use "page location" tool in the Adobe reader software. In addition, any changes made to the CUE list are also updated in the appropriate location of the "X12-837 Input Data Specifications".

Season's Greeting

The SPARCS staff would like to take this opportunity to thank all the facilities for their continued work that has made SPARCS successful for over 31 years. We would also like to wish you and your families a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with good health and happiness.