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Outcome Assessment Information Set (OASIS) Update (Memo #11)

PDFt Version of BQA 00-011 (PDF, 14 KB)

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Date: January 14, 2000 DSL-BQA-00-011

To: Home Health Agencies HHA 02

From: Jan Eakins, Chief, Provider Regulation & Quality Improvement Section

cc:  Sue Schroeder, Director, Bureau of Quality Assurance

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide information related to the federal Outcome ASsessment Information Set (OASIS).

Regulatory Requirements for OASIS

The Bureau of Quality Assurance is pleased to send you a copy of the HCFA Program Memorandum, Transmittal No. 99-2 containing information regarding regulatory requirements for comprehensive assessment and use of OASIS.  Information contained in this transmittal includes:

  • Delay in the requirements regarding the comprehensive assessment and OASIS reporting requirements for patients receiving personal care only services, regardless of payor source.

  • HHA regulation changes due to OASIS.

  • Non-Medicare/Non-Medicaid data will be transmitted with masked patient identifiers.

  • Encoding and transmission requirement for non-Medicare and non-Medicaid patients receiving skilled care is delayed until a system to mask their identity is developed and implemented.

  • 128-bit encryption requirement.

This information is also available in files 99-2.65, and 99-2A.65 through 99-2E.65 on the HCFA website at: [site not operable, memos no longer available as of 9/02]


It has come to the attention of the HAVEN Help Desk that numerous HAVEN users have been experiencing the following error message: "hhaerror.dll. Error is overflow." This is due to the fact that users do not have the short date setting in Windows set to the four digit year as per the HAVEN recommendation on set-up, and as documented on page 14 of the HAVEN User’s Manual under the heading "Windows Settings."

This problem can be remedied by taking the following steps:

  • For Windows 95, 98 and NT, click on the <START> button, select the "Settings" option and then select the Control Panel option to display the Control Panel screen. Next, click on the "Regional Settings" icon to display the Regional Settings Properties screen. Then, click on the Date tab to review the short date style properties. Verify that the short date style includes a four-digit year. A style that includes "YYYY" will satisfy this condition. The recommended setting is "MM/DD/YYYY."

  • For Windows 3.1 users, from the Control Panel screen, select the "International" icon. Verify that the displayed date includes a four-digit year. If it does not, click on the "Change" button and check the Century checkbox under the Short Date Format section.

Once the above-mentioned steps have been taken, the error message will no longer appear.

Should a user have any further questions, they may contact the HAVEN Help Desk at (877) 201-4721.

Migration to the MDCN 

HCFA is requiring all home health agencies to migrate to the Medicare Data Communications Network (MDCN) as the communication link to their state agency. All Wisconsin home health agencies are scheduled to be mailed MDCN connectivity enrollment packets March 15, 2000 with completion targeted by July 1, 2000. This new system creates a separate network for telecommunications access to state OASIS systems and a second layer of user authentication for added security. It does not change where OASIS data is sent. Wisconsin OASIS data will still be transmitted to, and stored on, the state’s server.

The MDCN is operated by AT&T Global Network Services (AGNS--also referred to as the MDCN Operator) for HCFA. Dial-up access will be via a local call for most agencies. This is a change to the dial-up connection only for submissions of OASIS data. OASIS data submissions will require the use of the same application software, browser, and state assigned Agency ID and password currently being used.

After completion of the connectivity questionnaire, home health agencies will receive an MDCN User ID and dialer software that must be installed for connecting to the MDCN.

Support for the new telecommunications network will be provided by the MDCN Help Line at 1-800-905-2069. State staff will continue to provide technical support for all other aspects of the OASIS automation process, including help with validation reports, confirming receipt of files and records, key change requests and server problems.

Updated Provider System Requirements

To comply with security recommendations set forth by the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), all home health agencies are encouraged to meet the following system recommendations for submission of OASIS data to their state. These system recommendations should be in place by July of 2000.

Recommendations for a Windows 95 environment:

  • Pentium system (minimum)

  • 16 megs of RAM (minimum)

  • Netscape Navigator 4.08 128 bit Strong Encryption

Recommendations for a Windows 98 environment:

  • Pentium system (minimum)

  • 32 megs of RAM (Recommended)

  • Netscape Navigator 4.08 128 bit Strong Encryption

Recommendations for a Windows NT environment:

  • Pentium system (minimum)

  • 32 megs of RAM (minimum)

  • Netscape Navigator 4.08 128 bit Strong Encryption

Note that Netscape is HCFA's recommended and supported web browser.

Common Errors

Error message number 81, "The above field was updated on the resident table," indicates that a field was updated on the resident table of the State database. If patient information in this record is similar enough to resident information on the State database on a set of resident matching criteria, a match occurs and certain fields on the resident table of the State database will be updated. The fields that will update are the following: Facility Internal ID, SSN, Last Name, First Name, Middle Initial, Date of Birth, Patient Medicare Number, Patient Medicaid Number and Death Date (only on RFA type 08).

When this error is received, the home health agency should verify the accuracy of the "new" data displayed inside the brackets [ ] on the Final Validation Report. If the data is correct, no further action is necessary. Incorrect data will need to be corrected. A Wisconsin Key Field Correction Form must be submitted to correct key field errors. Non-key field errors must be corrected by submitting a corrected record that increments by one digit the Correction_Num field. More information on the Correction_Num field can be found in the OASIS record specifications.

Listed below are examples of error message 81:

Example A



[Invalid Data]

[Old: 1607 New: 1787]

[Error Number]


[Error Description]

Field Update:  The above field was updated on the resident table

The message will occur when a person was in the State database under one home health agency or nursing home and this submission is indicating that the person in now being served by a different agency. No further action is needed by the agency. The current facility ID will be updated in the State database.

Example B



[Invalid Data]

[Old: 12/13/1923 New: 12/19/1923]

[Error Number]


[Error Description]

Field Update: The above field was updated on the resident table

In this example the agency should verify that the date of birth is 12/19/1923. If this is correct, no further action is required. If the date of birth is not 12/19/1923, the agency must submit a Key Field Correction Form to have this date corrected as the date of birth is a key field.

OASIS Training Planned

The Bureau of Quality Assurance is planning OASIS Educational Teleconference Network (ETN) programs for April 2000. The Bureau is also planning the First Annual Basic OASIS Training for the fall of 2000. Please watch for additional information regarding these training opportunities on the OASIS website.

State Help

Questions related to software and OASIS data transmission (connection, feedback reports, fatal records, error messages and data corrections) should be direct to either:

  • Cindy Symons, OASIS Technical Analyst, (608) 266-9675 or [no longer available, contact Chris Benesh]


Questions related to OASIS data collection (clinical issues) should be directed to:

  • Barbara Woodford, OASIS Educational Coordinator, (715) 855-7310 or [replaced by Marianne Missfeldt, (715) 836-4036, 10/03]

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