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Back  RFI # 2144: Spaces for Mandatory Element

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Submitter

Brian Moor

Description

Is it valid to populate a string element designated as mandatory with spaces? Should this pass validation?

In the 842 message type, the user is populating the NTE segment in the NCD loop (Pos 2400, B.HL.NCD.NTE) as follows:

NTE01 = RPT
NTE02 = ' ' (a single space)

According to the 842 implementation advice, the NTE segment is optional, but NTE02 is mandatory when it is used.

Our translation software fails this document on validation, with the error stating that NTE02 is not provided. The partner states that NTE02 is provided because there is a space in the element.

Previous interpretations searched indicate that according to X12.6, section 3.5.1.4 "A string data element is a sequence of any characters from the basic or extended character sets and contains at least one non-space character." Because NTE02 does not have any non-space characters in it, it is considered not valid and considered not to be present. Because it is mandatory, should document validation fail?

Response

Your reference is correct. An AN data element containing only one or more spaces is not valid.

Is it valid to populate a string element designated as mandatory with spaces?
No, it is not valid.

Should this pass validation?
No, a transaction set containing a data segment with only spaces for an AN data type data element should not pass validation.

Because it is mandatory, should document validation fail?
A value is being provided so no violation of the mandatory requirement exists. However, because the value provided is itself is invalid, the transaction set should not pass validation.
Submission 4/28/2016
Status Date 6/24/2016
Status F - Final
Primary References
Document 004010 X12.5
Section4.4.1.3
Set ID842
LoopNCD
Segment Position2400
Segment IDNTE
Element Position02