Information Bulletin, February 2012

Contact us at:

Phone: (518) 473- 8144

EODC Updates: No Phase 2 and 3
Wednesday is more than Prince Spaghetti Day
Annual Reconciliation Process
Did you check the FAQs?
DPRB Schedule
5010 Reminder: SPARCS and CMS Discretionary Enforcement Period for 5010 Compliance

EODC Updates: No Phase 2 and 3

Due to the passage of the All Payer Database (APD) that builds on the existing SPARCS law (PHL 2816) (April 2011), and the development of the APD, the direction of data collection for outpatient services data has shifted away from collecting data from over 2000 facilities for the Expanded Outpatient Data Collection (EODC) effort. The EODC project was designed to collect data in three phases; the change in the phased collection is as follows:

Phase Data Description Collection and Timeframe
Phase 1 Hospital Outpatient Departments 2011 data and forward
Collection started Aug. 2011
Phase 2 Hospital owned clinics / diagnostic and treatment centers (D&TC)
(approx. 1000 facilities)
Phase 3 Free-standing clinics/D&TC
(approx. 1000 facilities)

Thus, there will not be an EODC Phase 2 or Phase 3 data collection for SPARCS data. On behalf of the SPARCS Community, thank you to all Phase 2 and Phase 3 facilities that assisted in surveys associated with EODC project, and to all participants in the EODC project.

Wednesday is more than Prince Spaghetti Day

When you Google "Wednesday is..." you will certainly get the most popular answer: Prince Spaghetti Day. Now, with a little YouTube help, SPARCS will be making it's debut as "Wednesday is SPARCS Update day".

Why will "Wednesday be SPARCS Update day"? Not because of pasta, but because of large amounts of data. Due to the collection of the new EODC data, the number of transactions has increased the weekly totals to over one million. To assist with the maintenance routines and the large numbers of transactions being applied to the mainframe master files, the SPARCS update programs have been moved to Wednesdays. Beginning January 18, 2012 the current and prior year's discharges/visits submitted to SPARCS will be processed each Wednesday morning. The facility submission reports will continue to be updated weekly on the HCS and public website. For those of you who look forward to data results: Mangia!!

Annual Reconciliation Process

With the change to Wednesday weekly updates, facilities will also be glad to hear that there is no change in the reporting requirements. Facilities are still expected to submit on a 60-day cycle. In essence, during the annual reconciliation process, facilities will have a few extra days to submit their prior year's data. The new weekly update cycle will result in the following dates for the annual reconciliation process for 2011 data:

  • First notification: e-mail following April 4, 2012 full update to SPARCS Master File
  • Second notification: letter (yellow) to SPARC Coordinator, copy to CEO following June 6, 2012 update
  • Third notification: certified letter (orange) to CEO, copy to SPARCS Coordinator following July 5, 2012 update

Remember, there are a few production tasks that will remain on a monthly schedule (now 1st Wednesday of the month):

  • Submission Compliance Reports
  • Annual Report Generator (ARG) under Data Queries
  • SPARCS Output Files for Inpatient and Outpatient Data

Did you check the FAQs?

When you think you might need to contact SPARCS, first remember, there might be an answer already available for you. SPARCS FAQs can be found at: The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are designed by SPARCS topics:

  • Audit/Enforcement Process (AP)
  • Coding Issues (CI)
  • Contacts (C)
  • Data Elements (DE)
  • Edit Program Errors (E)
  • Health Commerce System Accounts (HCS)
  • Obtain SPARCS Data (DATA)
  • Reports (RPT)
  • Security (SEC)
  • Source of Payment Typology (SOP)
  • SPARCS 837 PC Application (PC)
  • Submission Process (SP)
  • Submission Schedule (SS)
  • Vendor (V)

DPRB Schedule

The Data Protection Review Board (DPRB) approves the release of SPARCS identifying data elements for inpatient, ambulatory surgery and emergency department data. Any users interested in accessing SPARCS data containing identifying data elements must submit an application. The application form and instructions are available at: All meetings are open to the public and are held in Albany, NY with video-conferencing at various locations around the state. All applicants must be available to attend at one of the video locations or be available by phone to answer Board questions regarding their data requests.

The following DPRB schedule for 2012 is:

Application Due DPRB Meeting date
November 21, 2011 February 8, 2012
February 20, 2012 May 9, 2012
June 25, 2012 September 12, 2012
September 10, 2012 November 28, 2012

5010 Reminder: SPARCS and CMS Discretionary Enforcement Period for 5010 Compliance

SPARCS remains committed to adopting changes to the "billing world", however, there are differences that are necessary to point out. One difference is in the timing of the switch to the 5010 version. SPARCS will continue to accept the different formats of the Institutional Version X12-837 until December 31, 2012. Effective January 1, 2013 SPARCS will no longer accept Inpatient or Outpatient data submissions in 4010A1 or 4050R format. All data submissions after December 31, 2012 MUST be transmitted to SPARCS through the NYSDOH Health Commerce System (HCS) in the 5010R format.

The NYS Medicaid Update Newsletter provides useful information that pertains to the same individuals that work with SPARCS. In the January 2012 Newsletter, a helpful reminder was posted about the timing for 5010 format for Medicare and Medicaid:

Medicaid providers who are still submitting electronic transactions in the HIPAA Version 4010 format are urged to complete their system transition to Version 5010 as soon as possible. The CMS discretionary enforcement period for Version 5010 compliance ends on March 31, 2012. Providers who fail to comply by this deadline will be putting their Medicaid payments at risk. As stated in a previous communication, New York Medicaid will continue to operate a dual system for inbound transactions through the March 31 date. However, in keeping with the federal Version 5010 compliance guidelines, effective April 1, 2012, Medicaid will begin to accept and process only Version 5010 inbound transactions.

Do not delay your Version 5010 transition efforts. If you are experiencing difficulties the Department and CSC have educational and technical resources available to assist you. Extensive information on all Medicaid changes for Version 5010 is included at under "eMedNYHIPAASupport" and in the February 2011 5010 Special Edition Medicaid Update. In addition, CSC Call Center and EDI technical support staffs are available to assist you with your 5010 transition questions and issues. Please contact them at (800) 343-9000.