How to use this guidance document
This guidance document is not intended to slow down or derail existing state development initiatives. The intent is to provide clarification and standardization across the nation in key areas raised by state partners. Should guidance introduce rework in ongoing development, please bring this to the attention of your TA and CMS analyst to direct you to the most appropriate path that minimizes impact to your progress.
Brief Issue Description
Confusion has arisen with regard to the populating fields on T-MSIS files when the data element value is smaller than the length of the field into which it is to be written. This has resulted in state-to-state differences when they enter similar values into a given field.
In order to alleviate the confusion, CMS has prepared Table 1: Rules for Padding Fields in T-MSIS Files (PDF, 297.42 KB), which provides rules and examples for populating both numeric and alphanumeric fields in fixed-length and pipe-delimited files when the value is smaller than the field being populated.
When populating fields in T-MSIS files with values that are smaller than the length of the field (as defined in the T-MSIS Data Dictionary for fixed-length record layouts), the state should adhere to the rules delineated in Table 1.