"States Y2K Bureaucratic Nightmare"

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"States Y2K Bureaucratic Nightmare"

San Francisco Gate Web-Site -- S.F. Chronicle & Examiner & KRON TV http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/1998/11/27/national0701EST0478.DTL&type=tech_article

Y2K Bureaucratic Nightmare States' computers are not prepared for year 2000, could result in benefit payment problems.

Report: States lag in preparing computers for year 2000 Friday, November 27, 1998 (11-27) 04:01 PST NEW YORK (AP) -- Welfare, Medicaid, unemployment checks and other types of benefit payments will likely be delayed unless states accelerate efforts to prepare their computer systems for 2000, The New York Times reported today.

Only one-third of the 421 computer systems used for seven major health, welfare and nutrition programs is ready, the newspaper said, citing a recent General Accounting Office report.

Failure to fix the computer bug ``could result in billions of dollars not being delivered,'' the report said.

The concerns are especially acute for county governments, which administer many federal programs.

``I'd be surprised if there was not some sort of dislocation and some interruption of services,'' said Randy Johnson, chairman of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners in Minneapolis and former president of the National Association of Counties. ``We are trying to work with our clients.''

The bug that threatens so many benefits has a simple diagnosis but a massively tedious and time-consuming cure. Many computer calendars are programed to recognize just the last two digits of a year instead of all four. That means when 2000 rolls around, many computers are expected to click back to 1900 instead of advancing ahead from 1999.

Computers can be reprogrammed by rewriting the software code, but many devices have embedded microchips that must be physically replaced. There are billions of software functions and billions chips to check, with little more than a year to finish the job.

John Thomas Flynn, chief information officer of California, said governors ignore the Year 2000 problem at their peril.

``If social services are disrupted, you'll have more than computer problems,'' he said. ``You could have civil disturbances. That's why this issue is a high priority for us.''

-- Diane J. Squire (sacredspaces@yahoo.com), November 30, 1998


"If social services are disrupted, you'll have more than computer problems,'' he said. ``You could have civil disturbances."

No kidding Batman, gee "civil disturbances" uh,......... you mean, like, rioting, looting, anarchy and mayhem???


"I hate it when that happens"

-- Andy (andy_rowland@msn.com), November 30, 1998.

I was kinda hoping those guys waiting for their checks wouldn't notice the checks were late, there was no food or fuel in the 7-11, and they were cold and hungry.

So now this guy goes and tells 'em.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), November 30, 1998.

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