231.003 ARIES Data Improvement Plan

Policy Number 231.003
Effective Date  August 18, 2010
Revision Date  August 18, 2010
Subject Matter Expert Services Data Internal Workgroup
Approval Authority  HIV Care Services Group Manager
Signed by   

1.0 Purpose

This policy provides guidance to Administrative Agencies (AA) regarding requirements for the annual submission of an ARIES (AIDS Regional Information and Evaluation System) Data Improvement Plan (DIP).

2.0 Background

ARIES was created to facilitate reporting of information on the delivery of HIV medical and psychosocial supportive services by agencies receiving Ryan White and State Services funds. As a condition of their grant awards, Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program grantees are required to report data on clients, services provided, and expenditures. In order for these data to be useful to planners, monitors, evaluators, and policy makers, the data must be of high quality. The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) HIV Care Services Group must ensure Administrative Agencies’ ARIES data entries are timely, complete, and accurate. 

3.0 Authority

Ryan White Care ACT, 2009; Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 12, §12.052, §12.083, Chapter 85, §85.032

4.0 Definitions

Administrative Agency (AA) - Entity under contractual agreement with the Department of State Health Services to manage and distribute federal and state funds to HIV Service Provider Agencies.

AIDS Regional Information and Evaluation System (ARIES) - Web-based, client-level software that Ryan White and State Services HIV Providers use to report all Ryan White and State Services provided to Ryan White eligible clients.

Assessment of Accuracy of Reports - A systematic and routine assessment of the degree to which ARIES entries are valid, and reflect actual services, costs, client characteristics, and health status indicators.

Assessment of Completeness of Reports - Routine examination of client records within ARIES to assure all applicable required fields have entries.

Breach of Confidentiality - A breach of protocol that results in the improper disclosure of confidential information: 1) accidentally or purposefully released verbally, electronically, or by paper medium, to an entity or person that by law does not have a right or need to know, or 2) purposefully accessed either in person or electronically by an entity or person that by law does not have a right or need to know.

Eligible Reporting Scope - Ryan White HIV/AIDS program data that includes all clients receiving services eligible to be paid for with Ryan White HIV/AIDS program funds, regardless of whether Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program funds were actually used to pay for the services.

Fee for Service - Fee-for-service is a standard business model where services are unbundled and paid for separately. Providers are paid a specified amount for each service provided.

Funding Stream - A source of available funds for client services associated with a contract.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) - An agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the primary Federal agency for improving access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated or medically vulnerable.

Service Provider Agency - Organization(s) under contractual agreement with AA to provide HIV-related medical and psychosocial support services to person(s) living with HIV. Service Provider Agencies are required to enter relevant data into ARIES per their contractual agreement with the AA.

5.0 Policy

It is the policy of DSHS HIV Care Services that each AA must submit, implement, and report progress towards DIP goals.

6.0 Responsibilities

ARIES data managers must monitor the completeness, accuracy and timeliness of ARIES data for the AA overall and for each individual service provider and the completeness of aggregate and client-level reports required by HRSA. In addition, data managers are responsible for preparing the Data Improvement Plan, which sets goals for improvement and maintenance of ARIES data quality. The DIP is submitted by April 1 of every year to DSHS HIV Care Services Group. Additionally, the AA must implement the DIP and report progress towards goals by submitting quarterly updates to DSHS HIV Care Services Group as outlined in the contract. DSHS must approve each AA’s DIP.

7.0 Procedures

The AA must develop local procedures to implement this policy.

8.0 DIP Requirements

The DIP should include:

  1. A plan and implementation for providing training to contracted service providers as well as AA staff;
  2. Description of procedures for receiving and responding to requests for technical assistance associated with ARIES;
  3. Plans for site visits and data quality audits, including a description of the methods to be used at audits;
  4. Plans for routinely assessing the following domains of data quality:
    • Timeliness of ARIES data entry;
    • Validity of ARIES data;
    • Completeness of ARIES data; and
    • Completeness of aggregate and client-level reports required by HRSA.
  5. Identification of areas needing improvement relating to data quality and establishment of goals for improvement of data quality in any or all of the above domains. When setting goals for areas not meeting minimum data quality requirements set forth in this policy, the DIP should establish progressively increasing goals aimed at meeting the minimum requirements
  6. Data managers are required to maintain minimum data quality requirements in areas where minimum requirements are already being met. The DIP should include an acknowledgement and commitment towards maintaining minimum data quality requirements for areas where minimum requirements are already being met.

9.0 Data Quality Minimum Requirements

Establishing DIP goals requires data managers to continuously monitor ARIES data for the overall AA and for each service provider agency. Each service provider agency is required to submit data into ARIES for clients as defined by HRSA eligible reporting scope. Data managers may focus improvement efforts for the domains of data quality on selected service providers with deficiencies or across service providers on selected fields to achieve improvements data quality. Each AA’s plan for routinely assessing the domains of data quality must include the following types of monitoring and assessment for DSHS and HRSA required data elements:

  1. Timeliness of ARIES Data Entry - Data managers must routinely assess the timeliness of ARIES data entry, and work with HIV service providers with consistently late entries to improve timeliness. Entries associated with medications, ambulatory/outpatient medical care and laboratory services, including the cost for these services, must be entered within 30 days of the date of the service/encounter. Client descriptive information and information associated with other service entries, including cost of service, must be entered into ARIES within 5 business days from date of service/encounter.
  2. Validity of ARIES Data - Data managers must verify the information in randomly selected ARIES records against documentation/records available at the service site on at least an annual basis. A random sample selection of ARIES records must consist of 10% or at least 10 records within a specified review period. This should include validating the information on services delivered and values of health indicators, such as CD4 and viral load test reports, if included in the record. The methods and schedule for conducting audits must be specified by the AA in the DIP, which may be satisfied through reference to written policy or procedure at the AA.
  3. Completeness of ARIES data:
    • Missing/Unknown Data - DSHS and HRSA required data elements must not contain more than 5 percent missing or unknown. Data managers must ensure integrity of ARIES data by analyzing unknown, missing, invalid data fields by running reports and evaluating data entry procedures at HIV service providers. DSHS and HRSA required data elements must not contain more than 5 percent missing or unknown.
    • Duplicate Client - In order to avoid creating duplicate clients, data managers should ensure that all fields used to construct the Unique Record Number (URN) and extended URN have no missing values in order to avoid duplicated clients. Data managers must routinely assess degree of duplication within client records and work with DSHS to assure that known duplicate client records and entries are eliminated from the system or merged across records.
    • Cost Reporting - The ARIES data manager must ensure that all service entries have a cost in the cost field for service entries. These costs can be based on fee for service, unit cost or a good faith cost calculation. AA must provide guidance and technical assistance to service providers to assure that services reported within ARIES are attributed appropriately to the various funding streams available for services. This is especially important when multiple funding streams are available to support the delivery of any one service within a service provider.
  4. Completeness of RDR and RSR Annual Performance Reports - Data managers must notify service providers of the requirement to report all eligible services reported for all eligible clients and assess conformity to this requirement (eligible reporting scope).

10.0 DIP Quarterly Updates

Progress reports should include an outline of the method and timeline to address and resolve identified areas needing improvement each quarter. After DSHS provides the AA data managers with written feedback regarding its quarterly DIP performance, the AA must provide a response in written format to DSHS within 10 days of receiving DSHS feedback. 

11.0 Revision History

Date Action Section
9/26/2014 Converted format (Word to HTML) -
7/7/2010 This is a new policy -