HCFA is ready? I hope so

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Below is the url for HCFA's FAQ on Y2k.


I hope they are. Read on.

Are dates important? You betcha. consider the following excerpt:

"Date-related transactions such as these occur millions of times a day as HCFA processes nearly a billion claims for its 38 million Medicare beneficiaries in a year."

or this:

"Dates are important to most of HCFA's mission critical systems. For instance, when did a beneficiary become eligible for Medicare? When did a beneficiary die and become ineligible? When did a beneficiary make his/her Part B premium payment? What was the date of a beneficiary's last mammography exam? When was a patient admitted and discharged from the hospital? When does a patient's wheelchair rental period begin and end? When did a beneficiary elect to join a managed care plan?"

Is telecommunications important to Medicare? Read for yourself:

"...Medicare is one of the nation's largest purchaser of telecommunications services. These services link Medicare carriers, fiscal intermediaries, managed care plans to HCFA, hundreds of thousands of health care providers to their carriers and intermediaries, Medicare data exchanges with hundreds of other insurers, state Medicaid agencies and banks. All of these telecommunications systems and data exchanges must also be fixed and tested for Medicare's mission critical computer systems. Many computer use just two digits to record the year. If not fixed, these computers will recognize "00" as 1900 rather than 2000, resulting in a multitude of potential problems for Medicare. Millions of beneficiaries who depend on HCFA for health care coverage and hundreds of thousands of health care providers could have cash flow problems because of delayed Medicare payments."

The dominoe effect if HCFA isn't ready:

"HCFA's programs not only have a major impact on the lives of its 38 million beneficiaries and the hundreds of thousands of health care providers who treat them but also on the nation at large because health care is such a huge proportion of the gross domestic product. An extended disruption of HCFA's business operations cannot be tolerated."

MoVe Immediate

-- MVI (vtoc@aol.com), December 23, 1998


If they're all done as quick as they claim, I'm real impressed. One thing I found interesting: they're starting to do contingency planning for failures in banking system, power, etc.

-- Shimrod (shimrod@lycosmail.com), December 23, 1998.

HCFA claims they're ready in this article in Federal Computer Week:


"HCFA: We're Ready for Year 2000"

Rumors about Medicaire's problems have now been officially denied!

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), December 23, 1998.

Try this link for "HCFA: We're Ready for 2000":


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), December 23, 1998.

Does this sound like they are READY?????

>>HCFA has also engaged the services of an independent testing contractor to perform an independent test of its largest and most complex mission critical systems. That contractor, SETA Corporation, will conduct its tests after routine Y2K compliance testing is completed by HCFA programming staff. Independent testing will be completed in mid-1999. This independent testing should identify any remaining errors or glitches well before January 1, 2000.<<

>>Upon completion of successful testing, HCFA will certify to the Department of Health and Human Services that its systems are Y2K compliant. Certification results will be posted to HCFA's web page at WWW.HCFA.GOV.<<

>>ach system is being renovated by either HCFA, contractor staff, or outside firms with special expertise in making such fixes. The target date for completion of this step is October 1998. <<

IS Being (does not sound like completion) ... target date for completion ... is October 1998 ... this was posted on Nov 2 1998...

-- Whitney (Y2kWhit@aol.com), December 23, 1998.

How interesting that this report issued recently by the HCFA is in direct contradiction with the Report to Congress by the General Accounting Office on September 28, 1998 (GAO/AIMD-98-284).
I quote the following derived from the GAO Report:
From page 2, paragraph 2:
"HCFA and its contractors are severely behind schedule in repairing, testing, and implementing the mission-critical systems supporting Medicare. HCFA has recently begun improving its management of Y2K matters, including establishing a Y2K organization and hiring independent contractors to assist in overseeing the Y2K work. However, because of the complexity and magnitude of the problem and HCFA'S late start, its progress in repairing mission-critical Medicare systems for the year 2000 is far behind schedule."
From page 3, paragraph 2:
"Given the magnitude of the task and risks ahead, and the limited time remaining, it is highly unlikely that all of the Medicare systems will be compliant in time to ensure the delivery of uninterrupted benefits and services into the year 2000."
This GAO document is on file at the GAO website in PDF format (which requires the Acrobat Reader to view). It's about 52 pages in length.
It can be viewed/downloaded from: http://www.gao.gov/y2kr.htm
The link is the first one listed under the heading: "Reports and Testimonies - Fiscal Year 1998"
which is approximately 1/5 of the way down from the top of the above mentioned page.
The link title is:
Medicare Computer Systems: Year 2000 Challenges Put Benefits and Services in Jeopardy
GAO/AIMD-98-284. September 28.

It's worth a look.

-- Dan (DanTCC@Yahoo.com), December 23, 1998.

And everything in the two html reports that actually quoted HCFA admnistrators were "promises" and "assurances" - not "finished systems" counts or any quantifiable "systems tested" values.

If they are closer to being done by March, great. But headlines to the contrary, there is no evidence here, only vague reassuring words about future compliance with nothing specific to back it up.

Also, I don't understand an administrator calmly saying: "whether we get an A, or a B, or a C or an F, it doesn't matter .... we will be ready."

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), December 23, 1998.

They are NOT ready, period, end of sentence. This is PR, window dressing, spin, out right lie, perjury, falsehood, etc. Where is Ken Starr when we actually need him. By GAO estimates, they aren't even half finished.

-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), December 23, 1998.

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