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New facility acquisitions: Preventable SPARCS data scenarios

People discussing SPARCS compliance in a board room.

Many healthcare organizations overlook the importance of mandatory data submissions to New York’s Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS) when acquiring a new facility. Accurate, up-to-date SPARCS data can give the organizations the most operational horsepower throughout the acquisition process. Accurate SPARCS data ensures compliance, provides guidance and prevents costly delays in expansion plans. 

This blog will cover two common SPARCS compliance scenarios* and how they impact facility acquisition. We’ll also highlight how using a data submission platform, like DataGen’s SPARCS submission tool, UDS (UIS Data System™), can aid the process.  

Scenario 1: Large hospital system acquires a rural facility 


A larger hospital system has acquired a new rural facility. The rural facility has one SPARCS coordinator who handles claims in its healthcare information management department. The rural facility is behind on its SPARCS data submissions, which is causing the hospital to be out of compliance. 

The larger organization has multiple people in its HIM department. Its SPARCS coordinators use an established process to work on claims and are SPARCS compliant. But, with the addition of the rural facility, more cases are going to come into the larger organization’s operating system.  


With a higher caseload from the addition of the rural facility, the larger organization will need to address smaller case counts in different data categories. They'll have to figure out role duplication and ensure consistent processing and handing of the rural facility’s claims.  

The larger organization will also need to tackle any historical data delinquencies the rural facility may have. Remediating the data could take considerable resources. For example, system migrations may have orphaned data, so additional projects to rectify this would be added to the HIM department's current workload. It's also costly for the organization and could delay expansion.  


What’s the quickest way to get the rural facility SPARCS compliant? If the larger facility uses an automated SPARCS data submission tool like UDS, it's easier to onboard the rural facility to existing procedures and standards.  

"With UDS in place, the larger organization could more easily achieve consistency with coding standards," says Kevin Tedesco, software development director at DataGen. "The UDS software makes it easy to quickly identify problematic coding patterns at the facility being acquired. For example, we could easily see the records that are failing because the rural facility forgot to fill out the race and ethnicity elements, POA Exempt statuses, or struggling with National Drug Code data acceptance."

Scenario 2: Out-of-state organization acquires a New York state facility 


An out-of-state organization is trying to acquire a New York state facility. The out-of-state organization isn't fully aware of New York state requirements.  


The out-of-state organization needs to become familiar with SPARCS compliance rules and guidelines and other New York state regulations, like the Certificate of Need implications and data reporting compliance laws. 


The out-of-state organization can use UDS to fill any gaps while expanding its footprint.  

"If you're an out-of-state system that acquires an in-state facility that uses UDS, it's a seamless transition. The standards are in place and there’s consistency. This also works for out-state organizations that want to use this solution for their New York facilities to meet compliance requirements," explains Tedesco.  

Tackle SPARCS compliance head-on 

Having non-compliant SPARCS data can hinder the acquisition process and potentially delay expansion efforts. There’s also the risk of not meeting community needs, leading to the perception that you’re underserving the community.

This doesn't have to be the case. DataGen's UDS solution is the only New York state-automated SPARCS data submission tool that guarantees 100% accuracy and compliance, helping facilities to provide accurate community services that are represented in planning, rate setting and DOH oversite.

Learn more about the three main benefits of an automated SPARCS data submission tool. Then, discover how to overcome the most common SPARCS data challenges. When you're ready, contact us for a free demo of our platform. We can't wait to show how you can reduce the time you spend on SPARCS reports. 

*The scenarios provided are fictitious and do not reflect real-world situations or individuals.  


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