Data Submission (Current Process) - Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS)


All Article 28 licensed hospitals in New York State are required to submit inpatient and outpatient data to SPARCS. Additionally, Article 28 licensed hospital extension clinics and diagnostic and treatment centers, certified to provide ambulatory surgery services, are required to submit outpatient data to SPARCS. Since 1991, all hospitals have been required to fulfill their SPARCS data reporting responsibility through electronic submission. Effective January 2008, inpatient and outpatient data is submitted to SPARCS in X12-837 formatted files. Inpatient and outpatient data must be submitted on separate files.

SPARCS data, formerly known as discharge data, collect patient claim information for all payers. The unit record of the database is a patient's visit or stay. The data contained in a record are demographic information, claims information, and clinical data.

Input Data Dictionary

The SPARCS X12-837 Input Data Dictionary details the form and content for each required data element.

Health Commerce System

The Health Commerce System (HCS) is the Department of Health's secure website. It is maintained by the Office of Information Technology Services and managed by the Commerce Accounts Management Unit. The HCS protects the confidentiality of submitted data by granting permissions to approved users only and by requiring that each organization adheres to the Department's data security standards.

Access to the HCS is approved by the HCS Coordinator at each facility. New facilities must first contact SPARCS Operations at to be added to the HCS.

Once added to the HCS, the facility will have access to the SPARCS Data and Report System. This provides an efficient and secure data transmission option utilizing the Internet Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption technology. This upload process is used to transmit X12-837 formatted claims to SPARCS. For specific edit and coding information, please refer to the SPARCS X12-837 Input Data Dictionary.

Data can be uploaded to SPARCS via the HCS 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. An electronic confirmation that includes the submission mode (TEST or PROD) is received within a few minutes. Data is routed to the mainframe computer for processing Monday through Friday, 7:30AM - 5:30PM. Submission results (Edit Report and Error file, if applicable) are usually available on the HCS within 2 hours of the time of data submission, Monday through Friday, 7:30AM - 5:30PM,

SPARCS-837 PC Application

SPARCS-837 is an application developed to assist providers with the creation, editing, translation, and submission of their SPARCS inpatient and outpatient data. Data in ASC X12N-837 format can be imported and modified. New records can also be created from "scratch" and modified using the input screens. Data can then be selected based on export criteria and exported in ASC X12N-837 format. The exported files can then be uploaded using the SPARCS upload application on the HCS. Additional tools exist to validate and edit the imported data.


  • Import ASC X12N-837 Formatted Files
  • Export ASC X12N-837 Formatted Claims
  • Maintain Facility, Subscriber, Patient and Claim Level Information
  • Built-in Edits for Required Elements
  • Validate Data for Individual Subscribers, Patients and Claims
  • Batch Edit Claims
  • Support for Submission and Retrieval of SPARCS AMI, Payor Typology and enhanced Race/Ethnicity Elements
  • Browse by Facility, Subscriber, Patient, or Claim




Per Section 400.18 of Title 10, the submission requirements are as follows:

  • Data must be submitted on a monthly basis.
  • 95% of the facility's SPARCS data must be submitted 60 days following the end of the month of patient discharge/visit.
  • 100% of the facility's SPARCS data is due 180 days following the end of the month of the patient discharge/visit.


The calendar for the quarterly reconciliation process is as follows:

  • In the first month of the reporting quarter, SPARCS Operations will contact the SPARCS coordinators of those healthcare facilities that have SPARCS records that are less than their monthly target after the upload to the SPARCS Master File on the first month of the reporting quarter. The monthly target is generally 80% of the previous year's monthly average SPARCS records. A lesser percentage, 75% of the previous year's monthly average SPARCS records, is allowed for those months that the healthcare facility has historically shown to have low patient volumes. SPARCS coordinators should review the Compliance Report that shows the number of records submitted and their monthly targets.
  • After the second month of the reporting quarter's upload to the Master file is complete, a warning e-mail will be sent the first week of the reporting quarter to SPARCS coordinators of the facilities not meeting the 80/75% threshold (for any month). SPARCS coordinators should review the Compliance Report. If there is a valid reason for the lesser number of patient records the SPARCS coordinators should submit a request for an exception by e-mailing Vendor issues are not an acceptable reason for an exception request.
  • After the third month of the reporting quarter's upload to the Master file is complete those facilities that continue to have deficiencies will receive a second warning letter. This letter will be sent to the healthcare facility's C.E.O. or administrator with copies to the SPARCS coordinators. The warning letter states that all data is due by the end of the quarter. Facilities that require additional time beyond the due date may request a one-month extension with a new due date. SPARCS coordinators should make this request by e-mailing SPARCS allows one additional one-month extension for facilities requiring additional time to submit data with a new due date.
  • After the month after the reporting quarter's upload to the Master file or the upload in the next month after an extension due date, a certified letter is sent to the C.E.O. or the administrator stating that their facility will be issued a Statement of Deficiencies (SOD).

An SOD will be sent to the facility's C.E.O. or administrator by certified mail. A Plan of Corrective Action (POC) is required within two weeks of the facility's receipt of the SOD.

Data Agreement Notification Form

Multiple vendors throughout the state represent New York's hospitals and medical institutions. Several of these groups access and/or submit patient data to SPARCS as a service to its clients. For facilities utilizing this benefit, SPARCS requires written notification from both organizations.

The completed form DOH-4388 should be mailed to SPARCS Operations, or e-mailed to